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'It's Frightening': Family Thankful For Arrest Eight Months After Woman's Murder At Sacramento Light Rail Station

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) -- An arrest was made eight months after a deadly attack near a Sacramento light rail station. Diego Salazar helped his sister place balloons and candles at the Florin Road Light Rail Station, marking a spot that will always trigger some of his family's worse pain and deepest loss.

"There's nothing that can prepare you for that," Salazar told CBS13.

Last May, firefighters found the body of Salazar's niece near the station. Michelle Benavidez, 29, had been brutally attacked. Now, eight months later, Sacramento Police arrested 22-year-old Jaquane Baldwin-Badger.

"But there's no justice or closure," Salazar said. "It's more so accountability. Whether it's this man that they arrested, someone murdered my niece."

"My sister texted me and she said, 'We got him.' And I was like 'yes,' " said Paula Gardner, Benavidez's aunt. "Not only for us is this a miracle that they found this person, but also for the community because now the community has one less person that could possibly do this again."

Although the arrest brings a sense of relief, it also leaves more questions. Gardner says her family is forever thankful for the detective who worked the case.  She says her niece didn't know her attacker and her family has never seen him before, but he's no stranger to law enforcement. Back in 2019, Chico police arrested him for burglary after investigators say he broke into a young woman's home near Chico State University, laid naked next to her bed and then took off with stolen items.

"You know he had a record and he probably didn't belong on the street," said Gardner.

The arrest couldn't come soon enough for a family that never lost hope looking for answers, handing out flyers and even pushing for a mural in Michelle's honor.

"We're looking forward to the next step and to make sure this doesn't happen to anybody else," said Gardner. "It could happen to anybody and that light rail is busy. So it's frightening and it's alarming that this kind of stuff is happening."

Baldwin-Badger is set to make his first court appearance in Michelle's murder case Friday afternoon.

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