16-year-old Texas cheerleader was stabbed to death; man charged with murder reportedly confessed

Lizbeth Medina, 16, was found dead on Tuesday evening in her bathtub in Edna

Lizbeth Medina and Rafael Romero (KSAT)

EDNA, Texas – More details were revealed Monday about the gruesome killing of a teenage cheerleader in a small Texas town.

Lizbeth Medina, 16, was stabbed to death in her Edna apartment, according to KPRC, KSAT’s sister station in Houston.

Rafael Govea Romero, 23, was arrested on Saturday in Schulenburg and charged with the capital murder of Medina.

Edna police said Monday in a statement that they “seized a motor vehicle and items of evidence tending to connect (Romero) to the murder,” but didn’t specify further.

Edna Police Chief Rick Boone told the Victoria Advocate that he is “100% confident” Romero killed Medina and that “he confessed to the crime.”

Romero’s bond has been set at $2 million.

Because he is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who overstayed a visa, according to ABC 13, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) placed a detainer on him.

The arrest of Romero came four days after Medina was found dead in her bathtub by her mother in the small Southeast Texas town of Edna, which is about 30 minutes east of Victoria.

Her mother went home to look for her when she failed to show up at a Christmas parade where she was supposed to perform.

Schulenburg, where Romero was arrested, is about an hour north of Edna along Interstate 10.

Police said they were able to track him to a home where he was staying with family and take him into custody.

Romero was charged with felony burglary of a habitation in Oct. 2022 in Schulenburg, according to Texas DPS records. In April, he pleaded no contest and was given 5 years probation and a $2,000 fine.

‘Placed under arrest for Capital Murder’

On Sunday morning, the Edna Police Department announced the arrest.

“(Authorities) were able to locate an undocumented male subject, identified as Rafael Govea Romero in the city of Schulenburg. Edna Police Department and Texas Rangers immediately traveled to Schulenburg where Romero was placed under arrest for Capital Murder and transported to the Jackson County Jail,” reads a press release from the Edna Police Department.

According to Texas DPS records, Romero was born in Mexico.

Rafael Govea Romero (Jackson County Sheriff's Office)

More information about Romero as well as the circumstances of the killing and how investigators tracked him to Schulenburg were not immediately available.

Schulenburg is about an hour north of Edna along Interstate 10.

Several agencies were involved in the investigation, including the Edna Police Department, Texas Rangers, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and Texas DPS.

‘She loved everybody’

KPRC, KSAT’s sister station in Houston, has been reporting on the story all week and spoke to Medina’s mother on Thursday.

“She loved everybody. She cared for everybody,” her mother, Jacqueline Medina told KPRC 2′s Bryce Newberry at the school’s football playoff game. “She loved cheerleading. When I would watch her, I would just see her face glow.”

“Although Romero is apprehended, we recognize Lizabeth’s family and friends are grieving and will still need support from the community,” police wrote in the release.

Information released on suspect Friday

The Edna Police Department, with help from the Texas Rangers, is investigating the death as a capital murder, but investigators have not revealed details about the girl’s manner of death.

On Friday, Edna Police released images of a man and a vehicle that could be related to the crime.

Police said the man may have a tattoo behind his right ear. He was wearing a black “Volcom” hooded sweatshirt and was driving a silver Ford Taurus.

Anyone with information is asked to contact investigators at 361-782-6522 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 361-552-CASH (2274).

About the Authors:

Kolten Parker is digital executive producer at KSAT. He is an amateur triathlete, enjoys playing and watching soccer, traveling and hanging out with his wife.

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 25 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.