SMPD said Mark Mechikoff, 39, of Pacifica, was arrested, suspected of stabbing 41-year-old Claribel Marie Estrella and sharing her final moments on the social media platform before fleeing the crime scene.
Police say there were notified Wednesday afternoon at 3:48 p.m. by Nye County Sheriff's Office in Nevada that a subject called them to report she witnessed a "stabbing" on Facebook and provided the name and phone number of the subject who posted the story.
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"Due to the seriousness of the crime, Nye County 'pinged' the phone number associated to the Facebook account and it came back to the area of the 200 block of 37th Ave., a large apartment complex," police said in a statement. "Without an apartment number and with the variance of the ping accuracy, SMPD officers saturated the area and initiated a door-to-door canvass of the complex to attempt to locate the possible victim and/or suspect."
SMPD said that after almost three hours of searching, officers established a possible connection and located the body of a deceased person in a unit on the 200 block of 36th Avenue, part of the same apartment complex.
The suspect was not on scene, according to police, but his identity had been learned, and he was arrested within two hours in San Jose.
According to SMPD, Mechikoff knew the 41-year-old victim.
"While the motive for stabbing the victim is still under investigation, we do know Mechikoff mercilessly filmed the last moments of the victim's life and posted the video to Facebook, then fled the area," the department's statement reads.
Officials say the suspect Mechikoff was released from prison in 2018.
"It's tragic, horrible. It's tough enough when we lose someone in our community. For someone to post a Facebook video is just hideous and horrible," said Officer Jerami Surratt with San Mateo Police Department.
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"That's disturbing," said tenant Zeena Amer.
Zeena Amer lives directly across from the woman who was killed.
"I heard a scream the night before," said Amer.
"It's a lot to live here and know someone got murdered. (I'm) not a right across, but 20 feet away neighbor," said another tenant who did not want to be identified.
"I think Exhibit A in the prosecution's case is going to be this Facebook video," said attorney and legal analyst Steven Clark.
Clark says the District Attorney will likely look at making this a special circumstances case and could seek the death penalty.
"Certainly the death penalty is still on the books. Gavin Newsom hasn't exercised those executions but it is still a California law and that doesn't mean that a prosecutor won't seek the death penalty in the right type of case," said Clark.
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Criminologist and author Dr. Scott Bonn says the person who killed this woman appears to have similarities with individuals who have committed mass shootings.
"It strikes of someone who is looking for their 15 minutes of fame in Andy Warhol terms, in just a very twisted way," said Dr. Bonn. "This is a guy who is angry and clearly the stabbing itself made a statement and I think he wanted to make a broader statement to society. You will see me, you will recognize me."
ABC7 News did reach out to Facebook to find out both how long the fatal stabbing video was on the platform; and how many people saw it but have not yet heard back.
"But to commit a crime and then have the mindset to start the victim's suffering on social media, that is very disturbing and I think that takes this to another level," Dr. Bonn said.
Anyone with information or security footage related to this homicide should contact Detective Sergeant Dave Manion at (650) 522-7660 or email@example.com. Anonymous tips can be submitted to http://tinyurl.com/SMPDTips or by calling (650) 522-7676.
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