The aunt of a Texas teenager allegedly killed by an illegal immigrant with a criminal history is calling for stricter laws to stop offenders from being given a “long leash” with probation.

Rafael Govea Romero, a 24-year-old illegal immigrant from Mexico, is accused of stalking and then stabbing to death 16-year-old Lizbeth Medina in the Edna apartment that she shared with her mother in December 2023.

Romero was reportedly on probation for a burglary in Schulenburg, Texas, about 60 miles from Edna, in 2022.  Edna police believe Romero may also be tied to a burglary that occurred at Lizbeth’s home about a month before her killing.


“Why was he allowed on a long leash while others with lesser offenses are not given second chances?,” Ana Medina asked on “America’s Newsroom” Thursday.

“Criminal histories should be not be given any leniency. Anyone on probation shouldn’t be let loose on a loose leash, they should be tight. They should be not given second chances if it’s a more habitual felony.” 

A spokesperson for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told Fox News Digital that ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Houston lodged an immigration detainer with the Jackson County (Texas) Sheriff’s Office on Romero following his arrest.

“We’re focusing on felonies,” Ana continued. “I do, however, highlight the need of stricter laws and consequences for those who do tend to have violent tendencies.”

Ana’s sister, Jacqueline Medina, had left the apartment she shared with Lizbeth early on Dec. 5 for work. Her daughter typically left for school afterward, but that day she neither made it to school nor the Christmas parade that her cheer team was supposed to be practicing for. Later that evening, Jacqueline found her daughter dead in their bathtub.

Jacqueline has said neither she nor her daughter knew Romero but noted that their house had been burglarized on Nov. 13, about a month before the teenager’s murder. Police were able to locate the suspect thanks to cellphone data and other evidence tying him to the crime scene.

“It’s been very hard for us and family,” Ana said. “Every day that just passes by, is harder to bear. But I’m here today standing up for justice for her and beside my sister, like I told her since day one.”

Romero pleaded not guilty at a hearing on Thursday. 

“He entered a plea of not guilty. We look forward to his trial to defend his case. He is innocent,” said Romero’s defense attorney, Chris Iles, after the suspect was arraigned in Jackson County Court.

Fox News’ Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.