GREENVILLE –– The uncle of a 16-year-old Greenville girl who was killed and left in a trunk last November was arrested on Monday and charged with her murder.
City of Greenville spokeswoman Lori Philyaw said Michael Vincent Moore, 57, was arrested at his Grand Prairie home without incident. He was charged with capital murder and taken to the Van Zandt County Jail, where he remains in custody with a $10 million bond.
Mr. Moore's father, Paul Moore, said more than a dozen officers raided his home and took his son.
"Fifteen of them came in here and I say, 'what the hell is this?' They are all law enforcement," he said. "My son was coming in the back door and they came and got him and rushed him out of here."
Alicia Moore disappeared after getting off her school bus at about 3:25 p.m. on Nov. 2. Her body was found four days later inside a trunk left along a rural road. The family has been asked to provide DNA samples to see if it matches evidence authorities have found over the six month investigation to further link the murder to Mr. Moore.
After authorities found her body, the teen's family expressed disgust that investigators did not issue an Amber Alert. Relatives told News 8's Rebecca Lopez they are "in shock" knowing that Moore's uncle has been arrested in connection with the girl's murder.
Alicia Moore's aunt, Jessica Byrd, said family members are "still trying to overcome the news of an arrest." Mr. Moore moved into his father's Grand Prairie home to take care of him. He was present for many family events honoring his niece.
On Feb. 23, News 8 spoke with Michael Moore in Greenville. He was decorating dozens of cupcakes for what would have been the teen's 17th birthday. Mr. Moore is a professional baker and said he was teaching his niece to make cakes. He said the two spent hours in the kitchen together.
"No one's been caught yet. We're still waiting for answers and that's really hard on us," Mr. Moore told News 8's Carla Wade then. "It hurts sometimes, but I'm over it now and it's time to rejoice. You know, you've got to get over it and move on."
Neighbors say Mr. Moore has lived in Grand Prairie for about a year. They described him as friendly and said he would play with children in the neighborhood.
Van Zandt County initially classified his niece as a runaway, citing interviews with her mother who said she had "done this before but never stayed gone this long." The missing persons report also stated that "during the summer she befriended an older adult male and may have done it again."
The case eventually gained national headlines and prompted a $25,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest and conviction.
Last week, about a dozen family members and friends gathered on Moore's street as rain lightly fell to mark the six months since she went missing. Her family said the vigil was a way to ensure that her case wouldn't go cold.
The Greenville Independent School District, where Moore attended high school, published a statement attributed to Superintendent Don Jeffries saying police and the city manager notified the district of the arrest.
"Needless to say, we are relieved that they have arrested a suspect. We will continue to work with the GPD in any way we can until there is closure in this case," Jeffries writes.
The Moore family is expected to hold a news conference later Tuesday to discuss the arrest.
News 8's Ryan Wood contributed to this report