The Eddy County Sheriff’s Office brought an end to a 14-year-old cold case this week.
Detectives with the ECSO announced the arrest of Jeremey J. Melendrez, 34, Wednesday for the 2002 homicide of Sasha Hedgecock.
On Dec. 25, 2002, deputies with the ECSO were dispatched to the intersection of Fiesta and Thomason in Carlsbad in reference to a 20-year-old female who had been shot multiple times. The victim, identified as Hedgecock, was airlifted to Lubbock, Texas, where she later passed away.
“Sasha Hedgecock was found barely alive in a field a few miles from here; she had been shot numerous times and was left for dead,” ECSO Chief Deputy Mark Cage said at a press conference Wednesday in Carlsbad. “Though immediately investigated, there was not enough evidence to file charges.”
Over the course of the next 14 years, multiple detectives and investigators worked to identify a suspect.
“Today, I’m here to tell you that through ex
ceptional, dedicated detective work and DNA evidence provided in conjunction with Katie’s Law, we have charged Jeremey J. Melendrez with the murder of Sasha Hedgecock,” said Cage. “This is a monumental accomplishment that we hope will bring some closure to Sasha’s family and to our community that was shocked and outraged by the horrific slaying of a 20-year-old young lady on Christmas Day.”
Katie’s Law, which was introduced to Congress in 2010 by then-Rep. Harry Teague, D-N.M., has been implemented in several states and calls for the federal government to provide funding to states in order to implement enhanced DNA collection processes for felony arrests. It is named for Katie Sepich of Carlsbad, who was raped and murdered in August 2003 while attending graduate school in Las Cruces
David and Jayann Sepich, Katie’s parents, were present Wednesday at the press conference.
“Whoever said time heals all wounds never lost a child to a violent homicide,” said Jayann Sepich. “We’re very pleased Katie’s Law could play a part in this.”
Melendrez is currently incarcerated in Hobbs on unrelated convictions and is being held on a $500,000 bond.