California man arrested in 17-year-old homicide in Arizona

PHOENIX (AP/KSAZ) -- Authorities say a California man has been arrested for the 17-year-old murder of an El Mirage man. Arizona Department of Public Safety officials announced the arrest Thursday of Frank Gallas Mendoza of Fresno.

Investigators say police went to check on Richard Cacero Lucero at his home in December 2001 and found him dead. His death was ruled a homicide.

DPS director Col. Frank Milstead says advances in DNA testing and other technology in the state crime lab allowed investigators to revisit the case.

Latent fingerprints from the scene of Lucero's killing were entered into an FBI database. Mendoza's name came up as a match.

Lucero's brother-in-law is thanking multiple agencies for all of their hard work and say his family finally has some closure.

"We know that the police officers, the detectives, the DNA people.. it always takes a whole team to come together and put all the information to come up with answers," said Felix Jimenez. "We are finally at one point of our lives where there will be closure for us and for the rest of the family that's not here at this point."

Authorities say local police arrested Mendoza at his Fresno home without incident. He will be transported to Arizona to face murder charges.

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