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Preliminary autopsy confirms cause of death of Port Arthur woman - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Preliminary autopsy confirms cause of death of Port Arthur woman

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PORT ARTHUR - A spokesperson for the Port Arthur Police Department has released new information about the shooting death of a mother of three.
 
Sgt. Scott Gaspard told 12News that  a preliminary autopsy was performed on the body of Milka Talavera, 27, of Port Arthur. Gaspard said her death has been ruled a homicide.

Police investigators say Talavera's husband, Wallis Mendoza, 47, is the prime suspect.

Mendoza claims his wife committed suicide.

Gaspard also told 12News that  investigators have not yet interviewed the couple's three young children who are now in the custody of Child Protective Services.

Shortly before 10 p.m. Friday police responded to a reported suicide at a home in the 2700 block of 9th Street. Police found Milka Talavera dead in her bedroom with a gunshot wound to the head.

Talavera's husband said he called 911 after finding his wife.  He broke down in tears when he invited us inside his home Saturday morning.

"I have so much pain right now," he said.

Mendoza told us he loved his wife very much, and that he did not kill her. However, investigators say they don't believe he is telling the whole truth.

"After examining the physical evidence at the crime scene, we believe that it was not a suicide, that we believe it was a homicide," said Sgt. Scott Gaspard with the Port Arthur Police Department.

Mendoza said he was was in his garage at the back of the house Friday night. He said he never heard a gunshot, but when he came back inside and entered his bedroom, he said he found his wife lying lifeless on the bed, covered in blood with his gun in her hand. He called 911 to report a suicide, but investigators say the position of Talavera's body and the way the gun was positioned in her hand didn't add up.

"The way it was tangled up in her fingers, we do not believe that had she fired it, that it would've wound up that way," said Gaspard.

Mendoza said he and his wife had three children together, all are under the age of 9. He said they were in the house Friday night and that they saw their mother's dead body. The children have been taken from Mendoza's home and are currently in the custody of Child Protective Services.
    
"They took my children! Why did they do that? ...right now, I am in a lot of pain," Mendoza said.

Gaspard said their next step will be interviewing the couple's three children more extensively. Gaspard said another reason Mendoza is a suspect is because the children told officers that their father was the only person in the house with them and their mother Friday night.

Gaspard said there are other suspects in this case, but none who have been named.

Mendoza is currently seeking legal counsel.
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