MCSO: Man seeking romantic relationship with girl kills mother

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Jose Zarate By Jennifer Thomas Jose Zarate By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Maricopa County sheriff's deputies have located and arrested a man wanted in connection with a homicide in a small town northwest of Phoenix.

Jose Zarate, 25, is accused of shooting Maria Saucedo, 31, at her home in Aguila, Ariz., Monday night.

According to sheriff's investigators, Zarate went to Saucedo's home to allegedly express an interest in pursuing a romantic relationship with her 13-year-old daughter. The mother denied his request.

Investigators said Zarate then took out a rifle and shot Saucedo in the chest at close range in the presence of the girl.

One of several witnesses apparently disarmed Zarate before he fled the area on foot.

Deputies responded to the scene and administered CPR on Saucedo until paramedics arrived, but she died at the scene.

Deputies captured Zarate at his home in Aguila Wednesday morning. He was booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail on charges of second-degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault and possession of a weapon by a prohibited person.

"How awful this is that a mother loses her life in the process of defending her daughter's honor," Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.

Deputies said Zarate is a non-U.S. citizen who has been living in the country without proper authorization.

Aguila is located just west of Wickenburg, about 45 miles northwest of Phoenix.