Imperial Beach couple suspected of killing Texas man
IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. — An Imperial Beach couple was arrested Wednesday in connection with the killing of a Texas man, who one of the suspects was apparently dating.
David Enrique Meza, 25, and his girlfriend Taylor Marie Langston, 20, were arrested by FBI agents early this morning at their home in the 700 block of Ninth Street in Imperial Beach.
The couple was indicted by a federal grand jury charging them in the fatal stabbing of Meza’s boyfriend, wealthy Texas retiree Jake Clyde Merendino, FBI Special Agent Darrell Foxworth said.
Merendino, 52, was found stabbed to death on May 2 in a ravine next to the highway between Rosarito and Ensenda, Mexico.
Meza met Merendino online in 2013 and the two were involved romantically. At the same time, Meza was involved with Langston, who was pregnant with his child at the time of the killing, according to Foxworth.
Merendino was killed a day after he closed escrow on a luxury oceanfront condominium in Baja California. Days after the killing, Meza produced a handwritten note that made him the sole heir to Merendino’s estate.
On May 1, the victim and Meza drove to Mexico, with Merendino driving his Range Rover and Meza following on a motorcycle, according to the search warrant. The new condominium wasn’t ready to move into, so the couple checked in at the Bobby’s By the Sea hotel.
Merendino went to the lobby early that evening to open a bottle of wine and around 10:30 p.m., a motorcycle was heard leaving the hotel. Meza was seen crossing the international border at 11 p.m., according to the warrant.
The victim was last seen alive at 1 a.m. May 2 when he told hotel staff he was going to help a friend who was stranded on the road.
Merendino’s body was found shortly after 3 a.m. and Meza was seen crossing back into the U.S. just before 4 a.m. that morning, followed by Langston, who crossed into the U.S. 25 minutes later in a black SUV with no license plates.
The same day Langston and Meza returned to the hotel to collect Meza’s belongings.
After the slaying, a longtime friend of the victim who drew up Merendino’s 1998 will, filed probate paperwork on May 8 in Galveston, Texas. On May 17, Meza contested the 1998 will and produced the handwritten note which named him as the sole heir to Merendino’s estate.
Meza faces life in prison for numerous charges including murder and conspiracy to obstruct justice, while Langston faces lesser charges.
The couple is expected to make their first appearance in federal court at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow before U.S. Magistrate Judge William Gallo.