Arrest made in mysterious death of Trinity University cheerleader

Trinity University student Cayley Mandadi (Photo: Facebook)

A man once described as a 'person of interest' in the mysterious death of a Trinity University cheerleader is now charged with her murder.

Mark Howerton is charged with first degree murder and first degree sexual assault in the death of Cayley Mandadi. Mandadi died on Halloween while traveling between San Antonio and Houston.

According to a criminal complaint, Howerton admitted to investigators he and Mandadi were dating and had been at a music festival when they got into an argument. He says they left the venue and started driving toward Houston.

Along the way, Howerton says they made up, stopped and had what he described as 'rough sex.' He claims Mandadi did not feel well afterward and passed out. Later, he dropped her off at a hospital where medical officials noted she was not wearing any clothing from the waist down and appeared to be bleeding. She was taken to another hospital where she passed away.

In the days following her death, Trinity University sent out an alert that mentioned Howerton, although he wasn't a student at the school. Students were warned to alert authorities if he was spotted on campus.

Investigators spoke to some of Mandadi's classmates and sorority sisters, who said Mandadi was dating Howerton, but she had grown afraid of him. They also claimed Howerton had 'roid rage,' destroyed her dorm room and was abusive toward her.

In court papers, investigators also note various injuries on Mandadi's body and claim they do not line up with Howerton's claim of 'rough sex.' Instead, they believe the injuries show Mandadi was the victim of a violent sexual assault.

He turned himself into authorities on Wednesday.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as they become available.

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