The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

May 7, 2012

Police: Carthage murder victim’s throat cut with machete

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Mario Gonzalez was struck three times in the back of the neck with a machete that was recovered at the scene of his slaying, according to a probable-cause affidavit that became available Monday in Jasper County Circuit Court.

The affidavit was filed with the charging over the weekend of 45-year-old Juan Mendoza with second-degree murder in the killing of Gonzalez, 43, whose body was discovered April 25 near a camp along the banks of Spring River on the north side of Carthage.

The affidavit alleges that Mendoza killed Gonzalez by cutting the victim’s throat with a machete about 7 a.m. on April 24.

The defendant, who was arrested Friday, admitted that a machete found at the scene belonged to him, the affidavit states. Crime lab technicians with the Missouri State Highway Patrol have confirmed the presence of human blood on the weapon, the affidavit states.

An autopsy performed in Columbia by the Boone County medical examiner determined that Gonzalez died of injuries to his neck. The affidavit states that the autopsy revealed that he had been struck with the weapon three times in the back of the neck. The medical examiner found no defensive wounds on the victim or any other signs of a struggle preceding the fatal blows.

Although Mendoza admitted that the machete belonged to him, he has not admitted killing Gonzalez or having any sort of struggle with him, Carthage police Chief Greg Dagnan told the Globe on Monday. Dagnan declined to discuss whether Mendoza acknowledged having any dispute with Gonzalez or what investigators believe took place between the two men before the slaying.

The affidavit states that a third man, Teodoro Paxtor-Ramos, told investigators that Gonzalez and Mendoza were the only ones in the area of the camp when he left on April 24. When he returned a short time later, Gonzalez was dead and Mendoza was gone, Paxtor-Ramos told police.

Dagnan said investigators are trying to determine if there were any eyewitnesses to the crime. The police chief said the area in question along the river has been somewhat mischaracterized as a “homeless camp.” He said almost all the people who have frequented the camp are not homeless and have addresses where they stay.

The defendant in the murder is not the same Juan Mendoza who was involved in the investigation of the Eddie Salazar murder case from two years ago, according to police. At one point during the investigation of the purported abduction of the Salazar baby, the father told investigators that he had reason to believe that a man named Juan Mendoza may have taken the boy. Police located the Juan Mendoza in question and cleared him of any involvement in the crime.

Eddie Salazar Sr. was sentenced last week to life in prison on a conviction for second-degree murder in the death of his son.

Dagnan said the defendant in the Gonzalez murder is not the same man.

“This Juan Mendoza has only been in the Carthage area for a short time — a few months,” Dagnan said. “So (he is) not from the area and (is) no relation.”

No struggle

AN AUTOPSY on Mario Gonzalez found no signs of struggle, suggesting that he may not have seen the fatal blows coming.

Text Only
Crime & Courts
  • Joplin couple indicted in child porn case

    A federal grand jury indicted a Joplin couple Wednesday for alleged sexual exploitation of a second child in addition to a girl who was the subject of a preceding indictment of the husband for allegedly producing and distributing child pornography.

    July 23, 2014

  • Grand jury indicts Tennessee man on three charges

    A federal grand jury indicted a Tennessee man Wednesday on charges related to the alleged enticement of a minor from Lawrence County for sexual acts.

    July 23, 2014

  • Joplin man faces grand jury indictment in child porn case

    A federal grand jury returned an indictment Wednesday charging a Joplin man with receiving and distributing child pornography over the Internet.

    July 23, 2014

  • High winds overturn empty box truck in Cherokee County

    High winds from Wednesday’s thunderstorm overturned an empty box truck in Southeast Kansas, authorities said.

    July 23, 2014

  • Tulsa man faces robbery charge

    A suspect in a shoplifting incident Monday at the Sears store in Northpark Mall in Joplin was charged with robbery after he and an accomplice reportedly resisted a store employee’s effort to detain them.

    July 22, 2014

  • Wrecks injure two on area roadways

    A Carthage man suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident at 3:35 p.m. Tuesday on East 50th Street, a half-mile east of Joplin in Newton County, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

    July 22, 2014

  • Assault sends man to Joplin hospital

    Joplin police are investigating an apparent felony assault that sent a 20-year-old man to Freeman Hospital West with injuries to his head and shoulder.

    July 22, 2014

  • Joplin man to stand trial in accident case

    A passenger accused of causing an accident on Interstate 44 in Joplin that injured three others as well as himself was ordered bound over for trial Tuesday on three felony counts.

    July 22, 2014

  • Youth shot in shoulder after reportedly encountering burglars

    A male juvenile was treated for a gunshot wound to his shoulder after a reported home invasion early Saturday in the 100 block of South 250th Street, the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.

    July 21, 2014

  • Joplin couple indicted on child pornography charges

    A federal grand jury today indicted a Joplin couple for alleged sexual exploitation of a second child in addition to a girl who was the subject of a previous indictment of the husband for producing and distributing child pornography.

    July 23, 2014

Local News

Have you ever served as a volunteer for your state's conservation department?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
NDN Video
Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast