EL DORADO, KS -- Reading the headlines about Emily Sander's life would lead the casual observer to think that the most exciting thing that ever happened during her brief 18 years on earth took place during the three months when she was a softcore model know as "Zoey Zane." The horrific truth, of course, is that the most exciting thing that ever happened to her was being butchered in a cheap hotel room.
While the headlines blare and the text obsesses on the fact that the Butler Community College student lead "a secret life as an internet porn star," precious little is known about the man who drove her nearly bloodless body 50 miles before dumping it along the side of the highway.
Israel Mireles was a handsome 24-year-old restaurant worker with a pregnant 16-year-old girlfriend on November 23rd, 2007, when he apparently decided to bring the pierced and tattooed Sander back to his hotel room and brutally murder her.
Although Sander's body would not be found for a few days, evidence of the crime committed on her was everywhere. Broken windows, missing bed sheets, severed telephone cords and blood were left behind when Mireles escaped the building with the teen's lifeless body, which was found in a ditch six days later.
Current conjecture leads prosecutors to believe that Sander and Mireles met up in a nearby bar and then left together. After the murder, resident alien Mireles escaped across the border to Mexico with his underage and exceptionally pregnant girlfriend, where he hid out amongst relatives while the U.S. government negotiated an extradition agreement with death penalty-shy Mexican officials.
Mireles was arrested in Mexico in December 2007 and charged with murder, rape and aggravated criminal sodomy. According to prosecutors, Mireles had told a friend that he intended to escape from jail by faking a dire illness and splitting once he was in a hospital.
Instead, he is now being held in Kansas on $3 million bond -- but somehow it's the "hidden life" of the murder victim that has been the primary focus on the media's investigation of the crime. According to some accounts, even investigators preferred to pore over her photos in an attempt to find a connection to her perfectly legal job and the hideous crime that was committed against her. When no reasonable association could be found, the true detective work was finally begun.
Mireles is 26 now and had his first day in American court on Friday, June 26th, when he appeared before Butler County District Judge David Ricke after arriving back in the U.S. from Mexico the day before. A preliminary hearing has been set for July 8th, although prosecutors expect that date to be changed. Although Mireles has indicated a preference for hiring his own attorney, the Death Penalty Defense Unit is currently said to be handling his case.
If found guilty, Mireles faces the possibility of life in prison without parole.