Man found dead in McAllen home was killed with machete

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Mario Nelson Amaya

The 57-year-old McAllen man charged with providing investigators in a homicide case with a false report stated he knew how the victim was killed and denied having pictures of the suspected murderer despite having photos of him on his phone, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Mario Nelson Amaya was charged with giving investigators a false statement regarding the homicide case in which El Salvador native 47-year-old Jose Edgardo Sorto Molina was killed with a machete.

McAllen police have stated in a news release that they have linked a 26-year-old Honduran man named Hector Neptaly Reyes Mendoza to the death of Sorto, though the suspect is still on the run.

Amaya was booked Saturday after providing false statements and was subsequently released the following day.

Sorto was found at a residence located at the 2000 block of Houston Ave. in McAllen. Sorto had not been seen since June 3.

On Thursday, June 6, detectives arrived at the residence and upon arrival detected the odor of a decomposing body coming from one of the rooms.

According to the affidavit, that room belonged to another person living in that residence who became the person of interest.

Detectives then interviewed Amaya who also lived at the residence.

“During the first interview Mario advised he knew the manner in which Jose was killed despite no detective providing him that information,” the affidavit said. “In a second interview Mario advised he did not make that statement from the first interview.”

In that first interview, Amaya also stated he didn’t have photos of Mendoza but then provided pictures of him which were on his phone.

Amaya added that he didn’t know Mendoza’s whereabouts, that he hadn’t spoken with him since June 4 and hadn’t reached out to him since.

Hector Neptaly Reyes Mendoza

Investigators asked Amaya repeatedly if he assisted Mendoza in avoiding law enforcement, which he denied.

However, a search of Amaya’s phone revealed he had called Mendoza on June 5.

In a third interview with police, detectives asked Amaya about the outgoing call to Mendoza. He responded by requesting an attorney and refused to make a statement.

According to the affidavit, a search conducted on Amaya’s vehicle also revealed “evidence in the back seat that was possibly tied to the investigation.”

Because detectives believed Amaya made statements intended to deceive law enforcement, he was booked on a false statements charge and released on a $2,000 bond.

Anyone with information about the suspect’s whereabouts or the crime is asked to call McAllen Crime Stoppers at (956) 687-8477. Anonymous tips can also be submitted through the smartphone application P3 Tips.

Any information leading to an arrest may result in a cash reward for tipsters.