The convicted sex offender long suspected of killing aspiring dancer Laura Garza in 2008 was indicted for her murder Wednesday, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s office.
Michael Mele, 25, was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and tampering with evidence in the eight-count indictment. He is currently serving out a sentence for failing to register as a sex offender, the Orange Count DA’s office said.
Before his latest charges, he would have been released from jail on Christmas Eve.
“This is what we were hoping for,” Garza’s aunt, Isela Villalobos, told the Daily News.
“We are just thankful that the grand jury did their job and indicted him.”
Mele was seen leaving a Chelsea nightclub with Garza, 25, of Brooklyn, on the night of her disappearance on Dec. 3, 2008.
After a 16-month search, Garza’s skeletal remains were found in April in a field near Scranton, Pa. Mele has always been the main suspect.
He has previously been convicted of sex offenses, including exposing himself to women and masturbating in front of them.
Mele’s attorney couldn’t be reached for comment.