Man accused of killing Charlotte woman captured in Myrtle Beach

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Police in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina arrested the man accused of killing a Charlotte woman and then putting her body in the trunk of her car.

Humberto Alvarez Mendoza, 44, was arrested Friday on charges of being a fugitive from the state of North Carolina. Earlier this week, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department issued an arrest warrant for Mendoza for the murder of Nia Hantzopoulos.

Mendoza was transported to Mecklenburg County on Thursday.

(Mendoza)

He will be extradited to Charlotte on first-degree murder charges.

CMPD learned about Mendoza's whereabouts and coordinated apprehension efforts with authorities in South Carolina on Friday.

It was a long, emotional Saturday for the grieving family of Hantzopoulos. Her funeral was held in the morning and her family laid her to rest just hours after finding out police arrested Mendoza.

"He took something from me,” said granddaughter Xena Balaouras. “That pain will never be healed."

Family members said being able to give Hantzopoulos a proper burial brought some closure. Now they want justice and are ready for the court hearings.

"I would like to know why. Why he would do this,” said Virginia Karras, Hantzopoulos’ daughter. “I cannot understand why he would want to hurt such a beautiful, kind human. We will be there every single day to make sure my mother receives the justice she deserves. She was brutally murdered, so we will be there to look at him to know what he took away from our family."

Hantzopoulos was reported missing Dec. 17 when she didn’t return home. Authorities found her body in the truck of her Toyota Avalon after the car was found at a popular shopping center in Ballantyne on Tuesday.

A search warrant obtained by Channel 9 on Friday showed that Mendoza asked his roommate to help him load an object covered in a white sheet into a vehicle. That vehicle was Hantzopoulos' car.

(Nia Hantzopoulos)

According to the search warrant, Mendoza told his roommate that the object in the sheet was a deer, but the roommate told officers he had been deer hunting before and he believed the object was too heavy and not shaped like a deer.

Warrants also revealed that the roommate reported seeing a possible blood stain on the carpet of Mendoza's bedroom in Pineville.

Investigators have not revealed how Mendoza and Hantzopoulos knew each other or how she was killed.

Myrtle Beach police told Channel 9 that Mendoza had a hearing Saturday morning and was denied bond.

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