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Warrant: Murder suspect asked roommate to help load woman's body in trunk

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Channel 9 obtained new search warrants in the case of a missing Charlotte woman whose body was found in the trunk of her car in Ballantyne.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are still searching for 44-year-old Humberto Alvarez Mendoza in connection with the murder of Nia Hantzopoulos. Officers found her body after they found her Toyota Avalon at a popular shopping center in Ballantyne on Tuesday.

(Mendoza) 

The search warrant shows that her husband called police on Dec. 17, saying he had not seen his wife since the day before.

Police began their investigation and determined Hantzopoulos was at the Goodwill store on Johnston Road in Pineville at 11 a.m. Dec. 16. Surveillance video indicated she was in the store with Mendoza for a about 10 minutes, and the two left at the same time, according to the search warrant.

Detectives determined that Mendoza lived at an apartment complex on Oakrun Drive and officers went there on Monday and interviewed his roommate.

According to the search warrant, the roommate told officers that around 4 p.m. on Dec. 16, Mendoza asked him to carry something. The roommate said the two went outside to a vehicle in the parking lot, and he helped Mendoza load a heavy object wrapped in a white sheet into the trunk of the car. The roommate said that Mendoza told him it 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.

The roommate also made note of the license plate on the vehicle because he knew that Mendoza did not have a car. It was determined by police that the car was registered to Hantzopoulos.

(Hantzopoulos)

According to the search warrant, the roommate did not see Mendoza again until Dec. 21. The roommate said that while Mendoza was gone, he saw what appeared to be a blood stain in the carpet of Mendoza's bedroom. The roommate said on Dec. 21, he saw Mendoza going in and out of the apartment, and he said the carpet appeared to have been cleaned. He said Mendoza left, and the roommate has not seen him since.

Federal and local authorities are searching for Mendoza.

The relationship between Mendoza and Hantzopoulos has not been determined an police have not released how Hantzopoulos was killed.

If anyone sees or knows the whereabouts of Mendoza, police ask to immediately call 911 or contact the Violent Criminal Apprehension Team at 704-336-VCAT.

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