Zapata had been beaten, raped, and strangled to death in the Central District of Seattle. The case went unsolved for a decade, although continuous efforts were made to find the culprit. Evidence such as saliva DNA from an unknown source was saved, and in 2003 there was a hit through CODIS.
The match was linked to a Florida fisherman named Jesus Mezquia; his DNA was entered into the database in 2002 after he was arrested for burglary and domestic abuse.
Mia Zapata was 27 years old.