Nine months ago, Rosita Hidalgo, a transgender Cuban woman living in South Beach, was found murdered in her apartment, the victim of 23 stab wounds. There were no initial suspects or leads, and friends worried that her death would go unsolved.
Early Monday morning, however, the Miami Beach Police Department announced that they had made an arrest, charging Miguel Angel Pavon with Hidalgo's murder. Thanks to DNA evidence left at the crime scene, investigators were able to track down Pavon, who is also the prime suspect in the murder of a prostitute who was beaten to death in June 2011.
According to the arrest warrant, on March 15 Detective Oldy Ochoa discovered Hidalgo's body in a pool of blood at the foot of her bed. As they combed the crime scene for clues, cops found a used condom in the bottom drawer of a nightstand, as well as a bloody pair of men's underwear and a pair of white socks, also soaked in blood.
Because Hidalgo only wore women's clothing and cleaned her apartment multiple times a day, police believed the underwear and socks likely belonged to the murderer.
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Lab tests on the condom, underwear and socks turned up a DNA match to Miguel Angel Pavon, also known as "The Mexican," a 31-year-old homeless Cuban laborer. Three of Hidalgo's friends recognized Pavon as having been in the neighborhood near the time of the crime.
One, a transient named Javier Cuesta, identified Pavon as being with Hidalgo in her apartment two days before her body was found. Armed with the DNA evidence and positive IDs, police booked Pavon on November 16 in Miami Beach and are charging him with first-degree murder.
Pavon is a career criminal with a rap sheet a mile long. He's previously been arrested for assault with a deadly weapon, robbery, burglary, cocaine possession, grand theft auto, kidnapping, and battery, all within the last 20 years.