Police question man in slaying of woman found in South Omaha grave

Omaha police officers investigate the scene at Graceland Park Cemetery near 42nd and L Streets in Omaha after a body was found in an open grave.


Omaha police have taken a man in for questioning in the slaying of a 19-year-old woman.

Mikael D. Loyd, 19, is a person of interest in the killing of Melissa K. Rodriguez, said Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine.

Rodriguez's body was found Thursday in an open grave at a South Omaha cemetery, about a week after a warrant was issued for Loyd, her boyfriend.

Loyd was charged in the warrant with assaulting her in June. He is accused in court documents of leaving bruises on her arms and legs following an argument.

Police have not formally named Loyd as a suspect in the Rodriguez slaying. Her family declined to discuss the police investigation.

Rodriguez's family worried about her safety – so much so that they called police to report an abusive relationship.

Social media posts from friends indicate Rodriguez had recently left her boyfriend at her family's urging and had returned to her parents' home, which is about a mile from the cemetery where her body was discovered.

“Melissa was a really good person,” her mother, Angie Rodriguez, said Friday. “She had a huge heart.”

Just before 10 a.m. Thursday, workers arrived at South Omaha's Graceland Park Cemetery at 42nd and L Streets to place a burial vault inside the freshly dug grave. A worker discovered Rodriguez's body in the open grave.

Rodriguez, a University of Nebraska at Omaha student, had been a varsity softball player and performer with the dance team at South High School.

South's principal, Cara Riggs, said she knew Rodriguez well and was devastated by the slaying.

“We're just kind of reeling right now,” Riggs said Thursday night. “She was just lovely.”

Police did not say how Rodriguez was killed or whether she was slain at the grave site.

The grave was intended for another recent homicide victim — Kevin F. McIntyre, 28, who was shot and killed Aug. 4.

Authorities do not believe the McIntyre slaying and the body found Thursday are connected.

McIntyre's interment was postponed, as his burial plot became a crime scene with the familiar yellow tape.

McIntyre and his twin brother were shot at a party near 27th and Spencer Streets. The twin, Branden F. McIntyre, was wounded in the leg. Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine has said the McIntyre shootings were justified.

Anyone with information on the Rodriguez killing is urged to call investigators at 402-444-5656 or Crime Stoppers at 402-444-7867.

“I just want everybody to know how amazing she was,” Angie Rodriguez said. “She would help anybody in need.”

World-Herald staff writer Emerson Clarridge contributed to this report.

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