Man accused of 1999 stabbing death of flight attendant in suburban Chicago faces murder charges

A man accused in the 1999 stabbing death of a flight attendant in suburban Chicago has been returned to the U.S. from Mexico to face murder charges, police said Thursday.

Luis Rodriguez-Mena, 46, was arrested in Mexico during the summer and was turned over to the Des Plaines Police Department on Tuesday, according to Police Chief William Kushner. Rodriguez-Mena is charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of 30-year-old Young Kavila.


Kavila was discovered Nov. 30, 1999, by her roommate, lying in a pool of blood in the kitchen of their apartment. Rodriguez-Mena, who lived in the same apartment complex as Kavila, fled to Mexico the next day with his then-pregnant girlfriend.

The killing may have been a crime of opportunity, authorities said. Kavila had been stabbed and slashed in the neck but also fought back, cutting her assailant with a box cutter.

Rodriguez-Mena became a suspect in 2007, when relatives said he boasted about the murder and threatened to harm them if they turned him over to police.

In 2008, Rodriguez-Mena’s girlfriend came back to the United States with their son, Kushner said. She gave investigators consent to compare her son’s DNA with evidence collected at the crime scene.

The DNA profiles were a 99.98% match with Rodriguez-Mena. Fingerprint evidence also tied Rodriguez-Mena to the crime, Kushner said.

Rodriguez-Mena was arrested in June in Cuernavaca, Mexico, where he’d been living. Prior efforts by the FBI and Interpol to take him into custody were hampered by relatives moving him around Mexico, Kushner said.