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Mark Edward Mesiti has been charged with the murder of his daughter, Alycia Mesiti, whose remains were dug up from their former backyard in March.

Mesiti, who was arrested on March 28 in Los Angeles on drug charges, now faces charges of murder, lewd and lascivious acts upon a child, and rape or sodomy. Authorities say he drugged Alycia between April 1 and Sept. 30, 2005 so that he could commit lewd and sexual acts upon her.

Mesiti, 41, and his girlfriend, Shelly Welborn, 39, were taken into custody by Los Angeles Police authorities. Authorites went to an apartment in the 2100 block of Bentley Avenue in Los Angeles, where they found Mesiti and a working methamphetamine lab. Shelly Welborn's 12-year-old daughter also lived at the residence.

The Stanislaus County Coroner's Office positively identified the human remains, found buried four feet deep at 3576 Alexis Avenue, as that of Alycia.

Originally Alycia was reported missing by family members. New information came to light in March that Mark Mesiti had been lying about the disappearance, triggering police suspicions that the girl did not run away from home as reported by Mesiti family members. A warrant was obtained to search the home with a dog specially trained to find buried human corpses.

Alycia had been reported missing two days after her alleged Aug. 13, 2006 disappearance.

The Mesiti family moved to Ceres in 2005 from the Bay Area. Alycia had been enrolled by her father to attend Central Valley High School on Sept. 15, 2005, but never attended, said Ceres Unified School District officials. On Oct. 6, 2005 CUSD received a request for her records from Harbor High School in Santa Cruz saying she was attending there.

The family told police that Alycia returned to San Jose on August 11, 2006, to spend the weekend with a friend and that she telephoned her family on August 13, saying that she had instead gone camping with other friends but would not disclose her location or who she was with. Police kept a close eye on her myspace account and saw no activity following her death. Nor had her cell phone been used.

In September Sgt. Rob Robbins began making new inquiries into the cold case. No breaks came until last week.

Police said they believed that the Mesiti family moved from the home six months after the disappearance. Neighbors said that two families have since rented the home. The home is now in foreclosure.

Mesiti was transported to the Stanislaus County Jail from the Los Angeles County Jail where he was facing unrelated charges pertaining to the manufacturing of methamphetamine and child endangerment.

Ceres Police Sgt. Jose Berber said his department will not be releasing details about the investigation into the case.

"The Stanislaus County District Attorney's office has requested the Ceres Police Department to refer any media inquiries surrounding this case to their agency," said Berber. "Out of respect of the victim's family and in the interest of Justice, specifics in reference to this case may not be released. As in all criminal cases Mr. Mesiti is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law."

Walker-Welborn was released from jail on bail in April and was not charged in Alycia's death.

Police previously stated that Alycia had been molested by a friend of the family previous to her disappearance. Detectives interviewed Gregory Joseph Ulrich, a 51-year-old Modesto man who served time in jail for molesting Alycia. Ulrich, who is known by Mark Mesiti, served a year in jail after being convicted of the molestation. He was released three days prior to Alycia's disappearance.

The Courier has also learned that police have checked out a large carpet stain in one of the bedrooms that someone made a labored attempt to remove.