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Israel Mireles was a Big Spender the Night He Allegedly Killed Zoey Zane

El Dorado, Kan. — from – Misty Walton dabbed away tears as she recalled meeting Israel Mireles at the Beijing Restaurant in 2007, then the events that led up to their going to the Retreat Bar during the Israel Mireles trial.

She told of how Mireles was buying drinks for all of the girls and paid their cover charge at the Retreat. Walton also described how Mireles was paying special attention to her and wanted her to go back to his motel room with him, but she decided to leave the bar because of his persistence and after she saw him kiss Emily Sander. After that, she called her friends to come pick her up.

Walton said she did not remember anyone talking about getting any drugs or talking about going somewhere to party further.

She said she never saw Sander again after that.

Also at the Retreat that night was Jacob Sander, Emily Sander’s older brother.

He said he arrived at about 11:45 p.m. and stayed for about 30 to 45 minutes.

He said Emily Sander was dancing, drinking and talking to a lot of people, but she appeared to be with Mireles.

He said when he left he thought Emily was still there because her car was still there.

Jurors also heard from Jim Phillips, who owns Easy Car Rental, from where Mireles had rented the 2007 Ford Taurus. Phillips testified that Mireles had told him he wanted to rent a car because his grandmother was sick in Oklahoma City and he wanted to go see her. The car was to be returned by 5 p.m. the next day, but it was not.

That car was found in Vernon, Texas, by Vernon Police Department officers.

Sgt. Wendall Smith was the officer who found the car behind a Best Western Motel. He testified they had been notified to be on the lookout for a green Ford Taurus from Kansas. After locating the vehicle and running the tags, he contacted his supervisors and they came along with detectives and a Texas Ranger to that location.

Among those dispatched to the car was Det. Mickey Allen.

They did look into the trunk as requested by Kansas authorities to see if anything was in there. Allen said when they looked under the carpet and into the area with the spare tire they saw blood in the bottom of that area.

They then moved the car to a secure location.

“We had photographed everything we could photograph,” Allen said.

After the vehicle was moved to the armory, the trunk and doors were secured, until authorities from Kansas came to pick up the vehicle.

Neither saw any damage to the car.

Det. Sgt. Chad Young with the El Dorado Police Department picked up the vehicle from Texas and transported it in a trailer to the Kansas Bureau of Investigations lab in Great Bend.

Jurors also heard about the discovery of evidence at the home in Baxter Springs from where Mireles picked up Victoria Martens, his girlfriend.

Frank Papish, KBI special agent in charge at the Pittsburg Office, was contacted about checking on the welfare of Martens and look for the vehicle rented by Mireles on Nov. 24. Papish, along with an officer from the Baxter Springs Police Office, visited the residence, but did not see any sign of the vehicle. They did make contact with the family at the residence, but Mireles was no longer there. Martens had been there but also had left.

In addition, they learned Mireles transferred some items into Sandra Martens’ car. They did discover a white shirt with blood on it, a plastic bag of clothes, a beer bottle, a set of keys and a knife in a sheath in the residential dumpster positioned in their yard near the street.

After hearing about the transfer of these items to the El Dorado Police Department by El Dorado Police Chief Tom Boren, the items recovered from the dumpster were presented into evidence.

Capt. Justin Phillips from the El Dorado Police Department then transferred the package containing the knife to Capt. Adam Spickler with the Butler County Sheriff’s Office, who took it to the KBI lab in Great Bend. In addition Special Agent David Klamm transported another item to the KBI lab.

After establishing the chain of custody, the keys, beer bottle, knife and bag of clothing were displayed for the jury.

During cross examination, defense introduced a pair of tennis shoes which were found in the dumpster across the alley.

The jury also heard more about the keys from KBI Senior Special Agent Robert Jacobs.

Jacobs took the keys located in Baxter Springs and tried them on the door to Sander’s apartment and her car, both of which they worked in.

Jurors learned more about Mireles Wednesday with testimony from his girlfriend at the time, Victoria Martens.

Martens met Mireles in March 2007 in Hays, and ended upcoming to El Dorado with him.

She said Mireles eventually became unhappy with this work because they hadn’t paid him for the first month they were there, and they had talked about him quitting his job and them going to Texas.

She also was asked about that Thanksgiving weekend when she went to Baxter Springs on Thursday. She
said Mireles stayed behind because all of their stuff was still at the motel and to try to get his pay, then he was going to rent a car and meet her in Baxter Springs. From there they planned to head to Texas to try to find work.

Martens had talked to Mireles on Thanksgiving afternoon, when he told her he received some of the payment but not all because they wanted payment for the motel room in which Mireles and her had stayed.

She also talked with him again later that evening.

The next time Martens heard from Mireles was at 4 Saturday morning.

“He was scared; worried,” she said. “He said that something had happened; he was on his way. He said that he had hurt a guy.”

Later she found out more about that incident, testifying that Mireles told her he met a girl and guy at the bar and invited them back to the motel room to keep drinking after the bar closed. She said he told her there was an altercation in the motel room.

“The guy started pushing the girl on him (Mireles) and then he pulled a knife,” Martens testified.

She said Mireles said no.

“The guy pulled a knife; they started fighting; the girl left,” she said he told her.

“He had grabbed the plunger and defended himself with that,” she continued, adding that the other guy was badly injured. “He said there was a lot of blood when he left.”

After looking at her police report she had filled out, she said he did tell her he stopped along the way to clean up, although he still had blood on his arm and his “wife-beater” shirt when he arrived.

She said he then ate and went to sleep. Later they moved things out of the rental car into her mother’s car.

Later that day they went to Vernon, Texas, then on to Mexico, where Mireles stayed until he was arrested. A couple days after his arrest, Martens returned.

After seeing some of the news reports, she said Mireles said that was the girl, but that he was innocent and didn’t know what happened to her.

Freeman-Johnson then asked Martens about her relationship with Mireles.

“He liked to go out and drink and play pool,” she testified. “It was more of his ‘me’ time.”

She said he would stay out really late every once in a while.

She also testified he had cheated on her once before, which he didn’t admit to right away, and she suspected him of cheating again, but he said he wasn’t.

“He was never rough with me, he never hurt me and I trusted him fully,” she said.

The jury also heard about the injuries to Sander.

Dr. Jamie Oeberst testified as to the severe and fatal injuries Sander had received.

Oeberst is the district coroner for Sedgwick County and the chief medical examiner for the Regional Forensic Science Center. She also conducted the autopsy on Sander Nov. 30.

Oeberst testified Sander was nude except for a sock on her left foot. She also had numerous injuries.

Those included two stab wounds to her chest, ligature strangulations and multiple blunt force injuries, some of which appeared to be caused by a beer bottle. She suffered blunt force trauma to her head, face and body.

She also had abrasions and contusions on her chest, abdomen, back and legs, as well as blunt force penetrating trauma.

Oeberst testified the stab wounds perforated her heart and aorta and that those injuries were consistent with a knife. She said the stab wounds were lethal as was the strangulation.

She said all of the injuries occurred about the same time and were fresh injuries.

Sander also had some bruises on the tops of her hands, which Oeberst said are often characterized as defensive type wounds.

She determined the cause of death to be the stab wounds to the chest, ligatures on the neck and blunt trauma wounds, ruling the manner of death a homicide. Testimony continued this morning.


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