Man alleges he ended affair with wife's 21-year-old niece with murder, police say

Winnie Mendoza's friends say alleged affair is out of character

By Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer, Roy Ramos - Reporter, Madeleine Wright - Reporter

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - Stephen Fraser Myers is married to 21-year-old Winnie Daniela Mendoza's aunt. The 44-year-old father told detectives he put and end to the illicit affair he had been having with Mendoza for about two years.

Myers appeared before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ramiro Areces, who is with the domestic violence division, on Saturday. His brother, Doug Myers, was in the courtroom. 

After ending up at Turner Guilford Correctional Center, where he has been held without bond since about 5:20 p.m., Friday, prosecutors charged Myers with second-degree murder.

"It's really unfortunate that this individual resorted to violence," said Miami-Dade Detective Alvaro Zabaleta, a spokesman for the department.  

Prosecutors have his recorded confession and detectives have the gun that they believe he used to kill Mendoza. Myers said he followed her, held her at gunpoint when she got out of a car and shot her several times near the Homestead Air Reserve Base, police said.  

According to the Miami-Dade Police Department, Myers said he was jealous because he believed Mendoza had spent Thursday night away from her home and he wanted to know where she had been.

Myers fatally shot her about 8:15 a.m. Friday outside of her home at the corner of Southwest 152nd Avenue and Southwest 307th Street in the Leisure City neighborhood, police said. Relatives found the woman's body in the driveway. 

After the shooting, Myers drove back home and he told his 34-year-old wife, Luisa Amanda Mendoza, that he had shot and killed her sister Yessenia Mendoza's daughter, police said. 

Myers, who works as a manager at a Publix Super Market, left his four-bedroom home in the Keys Landing community in Homestead. When detectives found and questioned him, he confessed to the murder, police said.

"We are living a horrible nightmare," Yessenia Mendoza said in Spanish on Friday. 

'We are living a horrible nightmare,' the victim's mother, Yessenia Mendoza, said Friday.

Winnie Mendoza graduated from Keys Gate Charter School in Homestead in 2015. She had aspired to become a nurse and was working at a nearby Publix Super Market's pharmacy. She was set to celebrate her 22nd birthday on Aug. 25.

Winnie Mendoza's friends from Keys Gate Charter School remember her as "just overall a sweet and beautiful person" with a "a heart of gold," and they don't believe Myers' allegation about the affair. 

"Anyone who spent any time with her knows she wasn't like that," Abdiela Sanz wrote on Facebook. Several other friends agreed. 

A woman who said she worked with her at Publix Supermarket and who asked that her identity not be revealed said Winnie Mendoza was not disloyal. 

"She was truly beautiful. She loved her family, and family was important to her," she said in Spanish. "We just can't believe what he is saying about the affair. There is more to this story. There has to be."

Myers and Luisa Mendoza have two sons, police said.

On Facebook, Myers has numerous family pictures of trips with his smiley boys and his wife to Walt Disney World in Orlando. On Luisa Mendoza's Facebook, there is a Christmas profile photo. In the comment's section, a woman wrote, "perfect marriage, congratulations." 

On Saturday, many wondered what went wrong. 

The large Mendoza family resides in Miami-Dade County and has roots in the agricultural city of Chinandega, Nicaragua. Some of Winnie Mendoza's relatives in Chinandega wrote on Facebook that they attended a 4 p.m. Mass at the Rosary Chapel in her honor. 

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