Citizens of Worcester, Mass., were devastated in early February to learn that 49-year-old Sandra “Buffy” Hehir, a middle school instructional assistant, had been found beaten, assaulted, and strangled to death in her apartment.

More than a month later, prosecutors said DNA evidence from an unsolved rape in 2000 matched that taken from the crime scene, and Jose Melendez, 55, was charged with murder.

NBC Boston reports that Melendez has a long rap sheet and had been arrested several days earlier on an unrelated warrant but was never seen in court; “He was instead allowed to be kept hidden behind a door in the courtroom with a Spanish interpreter.”

Now, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has confirmed that Melendez is in the country illegally.

ICE had put a detainer on Mendelez on the day of his arrest but had not confirmed his immigration status to the media.

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