Ceres father charged in death

Posted: 3rd June 2011 by Doc in Uncategorized
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Alycia Mesiti was 14 years old in August 2006, enrolled to attend the year-old Central Valley High School in Ceres. But before classes began, her father and his girlfriend reported her as a runaway.

In March 2009, officers unearthed Alycia’s body in the back yard of the home the family rented in the 3500 block of Alexis Court in west Ceres.

Her father, Mark Edward Mesiti, was booked at the Stanislaus County Jail on Thursday afternoon on charges of murder with malice, one count of lewd and lascivious acts on a child, and one count of rape or sodomy. He is expected to be arraigned today or Monday in Stanislaus County Superior Court.

The tragic story that has taken years to unfold includes plenty of red flags of potential problems, from an eight-year custody dispute to a disturbing report by a court- ordered attorney.

According to previous stories in the SanJose Mercury News, the Ceres Courier and The Bee, as well as law enforcement reports, here is what happened:

Custody battle

Alycia and her older brother were placed in her father’s custody in November 2005, about the time the family moved to Ceres. In the previous seven years, Mesiti was convicted of bank fraud and drunken driving, and charged with domestic violence. He was ordered to attend anger-management classes and landed in prison after failing to attend court-ordered drug and alcohol treatment programs.

But the children’s mother, Roberta Allen, had her own problems. She battled depression and a court investigator called her an unfit parent. There were reports of a suicide attempt and fights with the two children. She told a Mercury News reporter that she suffered years of persecution by Mesiti and had fled to other states and even to Canada, where she and the children lived in battered women’s shelters.

She said her husband could afford to hire an attorney in the custody battle, while her own responses were handwritten.

As the battle raged for eight years, the children at times stayed with aunts and grandparents.

In the nine months the two teenagers lived with Mesiti before Alycia was reported missing, the children’s court-appointed lawyer, Jonnie Herring, wrote in her report to a Santa Clara County judge that she was “deeply concerned about both minors, especially Alycia.”

Police and child welfare workers received several warnings of danger in the home. Ceres police confirmed multiple visits there.

Then, on Aug. 16, 2006, Mesiti and his girlfriend, Shelly Walker-Welborn, called police and told them Alycia had run away from home. They said she had left Aug. 11 to visit friends in San Jose, where they had lived previously. They also claimed she had called Aug. 13 to say she was going camping with other, unnamed friends. Mesiti said his daughter had been acting out and having trouble adjusting to life in the valley after their move.

Allen, a restaurant worker in 2009, said she called the Ceres police to say she didn’t believe her daughter had run away and instead should be classified as a missing person.

“The police stopped taking my calls,” she said in 2009. “They said, ‘She’ll come home.’ ”

Four months after reporting Alycia missing, Mesiti and Walker-Welborn moved to Los Angeles.

New effort on cold case

The case languished until the early months of 2009, when Sgt. James Robbins became the investigations supervisor for Ceres police. He ordered new interviews, which ultimately led to a cadaver dog being taken to the family’s old home.

Three days after Alycia’s body was discovered in a grave 6 feet by 6 feet by 4 feet deep adjacent to the patio, Los Angeles police went to Mesiti and Walker-Welborn’s apartment and found it full of equipment to make methamphetamine. They arrested the couple and placed Walker-Welborn’s 12-year-old daughter in protective custody.

Charges later were dropped against Walker-Welborn, who testified against Mesiti.

Mesiti was convicted March 18 of manufacturing methamphetamine; on May 12, he was sentenced to five years in state prison. He was sent to North Kern State Prison in Delano, about 35 miles northwest of Bakersfield.

Ceres police picked him up there Thursday morning, said Deputy Police Chief Mike Borges.

According to an affidavit filed June 4, 2009, Ceres police officer Keith Griebel said Mesiti “has admitted to burying Alycia and a search of Mark’s computer after it was seized pursuant to a search warrant shows evidence Alycia was being sexually assaulted on several different times by Mark while she was apparently unconscious.”

In an apparently unrelated case, Gregory Joseph Ulrich, a 53-year-old Modesto man who knew Mesiti, was convicted in April 2006 of molesting Alycia. He was released from jail a few days before Alycia’s disappearance.

Borges said it has taken police more than two years to get custody of Mesiti because “he was using delaying tactics” on his meth conviction in Los Angeles. “He went through probably four attorneys. Finally, the judge had enough and he went to trial.”

Alycia’s memorial was held in Cupertino in April 2009. She was described as a girl who liked horses and the music of Shakira, one who was pictured cooking macaroni and cheese and hugging a Snoopy doll.

Allen, her mom, was having trouble sleeping back then. She had last seen her daughter one day in 2006 when they ate lunch together in downtown San Jose. She next saw Alycia at the Stanislaus County coroner’s office.

“There was nothing left of her,” Allen said.


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