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Suspect in Onion Creek homicide investigation may have fled to Mexico, police say

Police believe the suspect and his ex-boyfriend had reportedly been fighting before one of the men was found dead.

AUSTIN, Texas — A 20-year-old man faces a murder charge after his ex-boyfriend was found dead near the Onion Creek Greenbelt on Sunday. On Wednesday, police said they believe the suspect may have fled to Mexico.

In the morning that day, a supervisor at Catedra Del Marisco, a restaurant, called 911 to report that Juan Zapata, 38, did not call or show up for work, "which raised serious concern." The supervisor drove to Zapata's home, where his car was parked. His car was unlocked and the keys rested on the driver's seat, the warrant said. He was nowhere to be found.

His body was later found near Onion Creek and Springville Lane at around 7 p.m. by someone who was out walking their dog. Zapata was found about 50 feet from the roadway in a wooded area.

An investigator with the Austin Police Department said in a press conference on Monday that Zapata was found with multiple gunshot wounds.

His supervisor told police that Zapata had told her he and his live-in boyfriend, Juan Eduardo Rendon, had been arguing the day prior. He told her he locked Rendon out of their home at some point.

Zapata and Rendon had been in a relationship for two years and they moved in together a month to a month and a half ago before separating in the past couple of weeks, police said.

According to the affidavit, the supervisor said "Rendon had previously threatened to kill Zapata if he had ever tried leaving him."

The day before he was found dead, Zapata was seen leaving the restaurant with Rendon at around 10:20 p.m. When Zapata was found, police said he was wearing the same clothes he was wearing at the restaurant.

Police said that "there is sufficient probable cause to" charge Rendon with murder. He faces a $100,000 bond. Detectives are currently seeking a provisional arrest warrant.

If you have any information, or if you have seen or heard from Rendon, please call 911 or contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at (512) 472-TIPS.

Credit: Austin Police Department
Juan Eduardo Rendon is a suspect in the murder of Juan Zapata