Warrant: Murder suspect asked roommate to help move woman's body - | WBTV Charlotte

Warrant: Murder suspect asked roommate to help move woman's body

Mendoza (Source: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department) Mendoza (Source: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department)
Hantzopoulos (Source: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department) Hantzopoulos (Source: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department)

An arrest warrant, released by officials Friday morning, outlines new details about a Charlotte woman's murder, including that the suspect reportedly asked his roommate to help move her body.

In mid-December, a man called the police to say his wife, Nia Hantzopoulos, was missing. She was last seen leaving the day before from Quail Ridge Drive.

At the time, Hantzopoulos was believed to be traveling to the Goodwill on Johnston Road before she headed to the Barnyard Flea Market, where she sold jewelry. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said she was driving a silver 2005 Toyota Avalon.

RELATED: Charlotte woman missing since last week

According to the warrant, video surveillance, and witness say Hantzopoulos was with a man, later identified as 44-year-old Humberto Alvarez Mendoza. The two were reportedly seen in the store for about ten minutes and then left at the same time.

Monday, police went to Mendoza's apartment in Pineville and talked with a man who said he was Mendoza's roommate.

The man told police he came home from work December 16 and Mendoza was there. About an hour later, Mendoza reportedly asked his roommate for help moving something.

"They went outside to a vehicle that was backed into a parking space about fifteen feet from the apartment, and he helped Mendoza load a heavy object wrapped in a white sheet in the truck of the vehicle," the report states. "The [roommate] said Mendoza told him it was a deer, but the [roommate] said his prior experience with deer hunting made him think the object was too heavy and not shaped like a deer."

According to the warrant, the roommate knew Mendoza didn't have a vehicle so he noted the license plate and the make of the vehicle. It matched the description of Hantzopoulos' vehicle.

Mendoza then left and wasn't seen for several days. While he was gone, the man told police he noticed what appeared to be a blood stain on the carpet in Mendoza's bedroom. 

"It's a very uneasy feeling not really knowing who you're living next door to," said Krista Capobianco, a neighbor.

According to the warrant, Mendoza returned home on December 21 and was going in and out of the apartment. The roommate did not see the vehicle and said the carpet appeared to have been cleaned.

Mendoza left and has not been seen since.

"Just that happening so close, you just never expect that to occur. It's just horrifying when you hear about the details of what happened," said Steffen Getsinger, another neighbor. "Can't really relax until you know he's been caught. You don't know where he is."

RELATED: Missing Charlotte woman found dead, murder warrants issued for man

Tuesday, CMPD said they found Hantzopoulos' body, along with her missing vehicle in a popular shopping center in Ballantyne. Her family told WBTV Hantzopoulos was found in the trunk of the car.

Murder warrants have been issued for Mendoza. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to immediately call 911, or contact the Violent Criminal Apprehension Team at 704-336-VCAT.

RELATED: Family, friends speak out after missing woman found dead

"You know it is time to turn yourself in. You are not in custody yet, but you are caught. Turn yourself in before something else happens," said Charles Prudhomme, a close family friend. 

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