HOUSTON — A 41-year-old woman was arrested Friday for the murders of an elderly couple who were found dead in their home by their daughter in 2005.
The capital murder suspect has been identified as Shelley Susan Thompson-Lemoine. She has denied any involvement in the murders but DNA testing led investigators to accuse her of killing the couple.
Antonio Rodriguez was 80 years old when he and his wife, Luz, were bludgeoned to death at their home in the 100 block of Waco Street, in Cleveland, Texas, which is in Liberty County, just east of Houston.
Carolina Tejeda, the couple's daughter, is the one who found her parents after the crime.
Shortly after police arrived, dogs tracked the scent of a suspect across the railroad tracks to a nearby apartment complex, but apparently, the trail went cold.
Investigators also located blood in numerous areas, including a large rug. An unidentified suspect's DNA was found on the rug and entered into a database system, but yielded no results.
Ultimately, the case went cold.
On March 2, 2021, Cleveland detectives were notified of a hit from the DNA database system. The hit pointed to Thompson-Lemoine, who at the time was serving a sentence in a Texas prison for an unrelated offense.
Investigators traveled to the prison in Gatesville and interviewed Thompson-Lemoine who denied any knowledge of the crime and the Rodriguez family. She was then swabbed for DNA.
Detectives learned Thompson-Lemoine had been investigated for numerous drug and property-related offenses, but no felony convictions led her to prison until 2021.
In 2022, the DNA taken from Thompson-Lemoine matched the DNA found on the bloodstained rug in the Rodriguez's home.
"Sometimes such small pieces of evidence can solve a case and in this case that piece of carpet that was found inside the home that had a spectacle of blood on it," said Chief Darrel Broussad with the Cleveland Police Department.
A district attorney reviewed the case and concluded there was sufficient cause for an arrest warrant to be issued.
On July 5, a warrant was issued for the arrest of Thompson-Lemoine for capital murder and a bond was set at $1 million.
Thompson-Lemoine had been released from prison and was arrested in Angleton by a Texas Ranger and detectives from the Cleveland Police Department.
"After 17 years, it feels good, said Tejeda.
Investigators are still looking for more people involved. If you have any information on this case call Multi-County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-392-STOP.
Who was Antonio and Luz Rodriguez
Luz and Antonio were beloved members of the community, according to Texas Rangers.
"They were great parents, very loving, forgiving, compassionate and sometimes you wonder maybe that's why people took advantage of that," said Tejeda.
Mr. Rodriguez was a US Army World War II Combat Veteran. After the war, he and Mrs. Rodriguez raised 13 children while working in the farming community of San Benito by harvesting and selling produce.
They owned and operated the Rodriguez Fruit Stand and Grocery Store in San Benito.
In 1984 they sold their business in San Benito and moved to Cleveland, where they were active community members. They reportedly operated a small Mexican food restaurant from their home that served shift workers who worked at a local plywood meal, the Texas Rangers said.
Antonio and Luz Rodriguez are buried among 75,000 others at Houston National Cemetery.