Fourth suspect arrested in transgender youth slaying

SAN FRANCISCO -- A fourth suspect has been arrested in the beating and strangling of a Newark transgender youth killed at a party last month after it was discovered the teen was male instead of female, police announced Sunday.

Jason Cazares, 22, of Fremont, was arrested on suspicion of murder Saturday after police gathered enough evidence to obtain an arrest warrant for his alleged role in the killing of Eddie "Gwen" Araujo, said Newark Police Lt. Tom Milner.

Cazares was being held at the Santa Rita Jail without bail, Milner said.

"The trail seems to be hot and we're continuing forward," Milner said of the investigation. He declined comment on what role Cazares allegedly played in the slaying.

Last month, another suspect led authorities to a shallow grave 150 miles east of San Francisco in the Sierra foothills two weeks after the Oct. 3 party from which Araujo disappeared. The 17-year-old was found buried -- wrists and ankles bound -- in the miniskirt the victim was last seen wearing while going by the name "Lida."

Witnesses told police Araujo was beaten, dragged half-conscious into the garage and strangled with a rope after a girl at the party discovered the teen was anatomically male, according to court documents.

Three other men also have been arrested and charged with murder boosted by a hate-crime enhancement. Jaron Nabors, 19, has pleaded innocent, while Jose Antonio Merel and Michael William Magidson, both 22, have not yet entered pleas. A hearing date has been set for Dec. 13.

Calls to Araujo's mother, Sylvia Guerrero, and his aunt were not immediately returned Sunday.


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