17-year-old teenager had sex with 15-year-old victim, then strangled her until she became unresponsive and afterwards stabbed her while she was still alive.
By H. Nelson Goodson
April 25, 2012
Milwaukee – On Wednesday, Eduardo Ivañez, 17, aka, “Smokey” of Milwaukee was charged as an adult with two felony counts of 1st-degree intentional homicide and trying to hide a corpse in connection with the April 13, murder of Stephanie Romero, 15. Bail for Ivañez was set at $500,000 and if convicted, Ivañez is facing life in prison without parole and an additional 15 years.
Romero’s body was found on April 20, inside a vacant home at 2512 W. Rogers St., according to police. The body showed signs of strangulation, abrasions, and multiple stab wounds to Romero’s chest, neck and left eye.
The criminal complaint states, Ivañez had confessed to strangling Romero while having sex with her at the vacant house. He choked Romero with both hands until she became unresponsive. Ivañez and Romero went to the house to drink and have sex. Once inside the house, she refused Ivañez sexual advances, which triggered the deadly sexual assault on Romero.
On April 13, an accomplice and two relatives of Ivañez later showed up at the vacant house, which was used by teenagers to smoke marijuana. They asked Ivañez what had happened after noticing Romero on the floor bleeding from her face. Ivañez told them that Romero began to yell and scream at him and wouldn’t stop. He then kicked and stomped Romero on the face and began to stab her several times in front of the teens.
Ivañez and another suspect then dragged Romero’s body to the bathroom.
Ivañez then noticed that Romero was still alive. He grabbed a knife again and then stabbed Romero in the chest, neck and left eye.
An autopsy found that Romero suffered from being beaten, strangulation, stabbed wounds to her neck and left eye, according the Milwaukee Medical Examiner’s report.
Ivañez and the suspects left the house and took some items, including Romero’s jewelry and cellphone.
Two days later, Ivañez who lived with his sister several houses from where Romero was killed decided to return to the house and moved Romero’s body to an upstairs crawl space in the vacant house with the help of an accomplice. Apparently, Ivañez was showing off Romero’s body and the homicide he had committed to other teenagers before Romero’s body was found a week later by a different group of teenagers who told their school principal about the body. The principal notified police.
Before the body was found, one of the suspects with Ivañez began to caress Romero’s breasts because he became bored and Ivañez thought about having intercourse with Romero’s body, according to the complaint.
Romero was considered a runaway and was staying at the St. Rosie’s group home where she had been missing for a month. But allegations have been raised that the group home failed to notify authorities.
Romero’s mother had returned to Mexico along with her boyfriend who allegedly abused Romero. Romero was left with relatives. She ran away and ended up in the group home. Romero continued to run away and started to hang out with alleged gang members.
Two juvenile suspects involved in Romero’s death were referred to the juvenile court system for possible charges and a third suspect was released because the teenager left the vacant house and didn’t participate in moving or hiding Romero’s body, according to the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office.
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Photo: Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department