CERES -- A father charged with murdering his 14-year-old daughter stands accused of drugging and molesting the girl more than three years before her remains were unearthed from a Ceres back yard in March.
A criminal complaint filed in Stanislaus County Superior Court says Mark Edward Mesiti, 41, killed his daughter, Alycia Mesiti, on or about Aug. 16, 2006. The complaint also says Mesiti drugged and molested Alycia sometime between April 1 and Sept. 30, 2005.
Mesiti has been in the Los Angeles County Jail since he was arrested March 28 in an unrelated meth lab case. His bail was set at $205,000. The murder and molestation charges from Stanislaus County added $2 million to his bail, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Web site.
Ceres Police Chief Art de Werk said Wednesday there are no other identified suspects, but the death still is being investigated. Alycia's body was discovered March 25.
Stanislaus County coroner officials have conducted an autopsy on Alycia's body, but De Werk said forensics results are not yet available. He would not say what caused Alycia's death and referred all questions to the Stanislaus County district attorney's office.
Assistant District Attorney Carol Shipley would not reveal the cause of Alycia's death, fearing releasing that information would harm the investigation.
The district attorney's office filed three felony charges against Mesiti on June 2, after a Stanislaus County Superior Court judge signed an arrest warrant drafted by Ceres police detectives.
Mesiti will not face the death penalty because he is not charged with a special circumstance -- such as murder for financial gain, lying in wait or killing a witness to a crime -- in which capital punishment is possible.
Rape in the course of a murder is a death penalty offense, but the complaint alleges that the sex crimes occurred more than a year before Alycia's death.
In addition to first-degree murder, Mesiti is charged with committing a lewd act upon a 13-year-old and sexual penetration with a foreign object. In court records, prosecutors allege Alycia was given drugs or alcohol so she could not resist.
Shipley said Mesiti will be transported to the Stanislaus County Jail in Modesto after he is prosecuted in the Los Angeles County case.
Although the murder of Mesiti's daughter is a bigger case, the Southern California prosecution has precedence because it is under way, Shipley said. If convicted of murder and sex crimes in Stanislaus County, Mesiti would face life in prison.
Mesiti's arrest in Los Angeles gave authorities time to tie up loose ends in their case.
"Obviously, he was going to be tied up elsewhere, and wasn't going anywhere," Shipley said.
Before Mesiti moved to Ceres from San Jose, Santa Clara County Superior Court placed Alycia and her older brother in his care, the San Jose Mercury reported.
Ceres police said Alycia had trouble adjusting to life in the valley. Mesiti and his live-in girlfriend, Shelly Walker-Welborn, told police in 2006 that Alycia had run away from their home in the 3500 block of Alexis Court, and they did not know where she was.
Days after authorities found Alycia's body in a grave beneath the backyard lawn of the Alexis Court home, Ceres police investigators, with help from Los Angeles police, served a search warrant at Mesiti's Los Angeles apartment and found a meth lab.
Los Angeles police arrested Mesiti and Walker- Welborn, 41, on suspicion of running a methamphetamine lab and endangering Walker-Welborn's 12-year-old daughter.
Walker-Welborn made $500,000 bail and was released from jail. Ceres police consider her a "person of interest" in Alycia's death and have remained in contact with her, a department spokesman said.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2394.