On Monday, the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office announced an arrest in the murder of Janet Mejia, a 28-year-old woman who went missing a week prior.
The alleged suspect is Teris Vinson, 25, of Sacramento. He was Mejia's roommate. A spokesperson for the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office said Vinson was in a relationship with Mejia's other roommate, who had first reported Mejia missing on Tuesday.
Mejia's body was found in a Placer County field on Friday. That was the day Vinson was taken into custody for separate weapons charges, but was a 'person of interest' in Mejia's murder.
"Janet was always so super friendly. She had the biggest heart," said Daisy Mejia, Janet's older sister.
After the announcement of an arrest, Daisy sat down with ABC10's Frances Wang. It was the first time she opened up about her sister since the news of her murder.
"People are messaging me saying how special Janet was in their life. I knew she was special. But just to know she was as special to them is heartwarming," said Daisy. "I appreciate it. I thank everybody for keeping Janet in their minds and hearts."
Looking at Daisy, you can see striking similarities to Janet, her only sibling. Just four years apart, the two were extremely close.
"It's nice to know people do think I look a little bit like her. It makes it seem like I'm carrying a piece of her with me," said Daisy, through tears. "It's definitely been very difficult. Like losing half of myself."
Hearing that the man responsible is now in jail brings mixed emotions.
"You can't control your emotions. But we have very big hearts. It runs in our blood," said Daisy. "I am angry at the fact she was taken from us so soon...but what I feel right now is love and loss. Love for my sister. And loss for what could've been."
When asked about favorite memories with her sister, Daisy started laughing, reminiscing of all the times Janet would critique her on her makeup.
"She was a makeup fanatic," chuckled Daisy. "She was always giving me pointers...we'd meet somewhere and she'd [gasp] and be like 'You didn't blend!'"
Something else Daisy said many people didn't know about Janet: her love for animals, especially horses. In high school, she took an equestrian P.E. class where she was able to ride horses and help care for them. One of Daisy's favorite pictures of Janet is one showing her petting a horse.
"I think this is a side of her nobody has seen," said Daisy. "They developed a bond with the animals. Janet was so good at it and she loved it."
Janet worked at the Nordstrom's at Westfield Galleria in Roseville and she was also getting ready to start her career as an interpreter for the deaf community. The Sacramento State graduate had studied special education and American sign language. She was inspired by her own nephew, who is deaf.
"They had a special bond [and] that's where her passion for sign language came from. Once she was hooked, she was completely focused," said Daisy. "[The deaf community] felt her passion to help them. She was just such a special person. So willing to go above and beyond to help others.
Sadly, Janet won't get to fulfill her dream of being an interpreter, but the impact she still leaves behind is clear.
"She didn't get a chance to make a difference as an interpreter, but I think she made a difference in [all of] our lives in her short time here," said Daisy.
"The wounds are still very fresh," she said. "Right now I don't even think about [the case]. All I do is think about my sister."
Daisy hopes those who knew and loved Janet will channel their emotions into being better people.
"I think the biggest lesson we can all learn from her is to make time. It wouldn't matter where she was. If a friend needed her...she would leave family events and cut things short to be with somebody who really needed her," said Daisy. "I think I will carry that on with myself. And for other people, it's a lesson too."
The GoFundMe page that was originally started as reward money for information on Janet's disappearance will now be used as a memorial fund.
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