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Police: Body was that of Alycia Mesiti
Police said Monday that the human remains unearthed Wednesday from a residential backyard on Alexis Avenue in west Ceres were that of Alycia Mesiti. Police also have arrested the girl's father after tracing him to a Los Angeles home turned meth lab.

Mark Edward Mesiti, 41, and his girlfriend, Shelly Welborn, 39, were taken into custody by Ceres Police detectives and Los Angeles Police authorities. Authorites burst into 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 lives at this residence.

Mesiti is considered the prime suspect in the death but no charges have been made yet.

The Stanislaus County Coroner's Office positively identified the human remains, found buried four feet deep at the residence, on Friday and next of kin were notified over the weekend. The cause of death is still being investigated.

"We have been told it could take two months for the cause of death is determined," said Sgt. Jose Berber of the Ceres Police Department.

Police spent all day Wednesday searching the vacant house at 3576 Alexis Avenue on the basis of a warrant related to the August 2006 filing of a runaway report of 14-year-old Alycia Mesiti.

New information came to light two weeks that heightened 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.

Alexis Avenue is a newer neighborhood in west Ceres, located west of Morgan Road, blocks south of Sinclear Elementary.

Neighbors came home from work Wednesday and found the street clogged with police vehicles. A coroner's van backed up to the sideyard and a gurney containing the remains was wheeled over to it.

Julie Charlton said she remembered the Mesiti family, the first family to rent the house. Her son, Joshua Charlton, didn't recall much about Mark Mesiti, the girl's father, only that he didn't respond when he was waved to.

"I don't remember him being too friendly," said Mrs. Charlton.

A wanted poster that has been posted at Police Headquarters since her disappearance reveals that Alycia was reported missing two days after her Aug. 13, 2006 disappearance.

Armed with a $5,000 reward offered by the Carole Sund/Carrington Foundation, Ceres Police made a public appeal in the Courier last fall in an attempt to find more clues as to her whereabouts.

The Mesiti family moved to Ceres in 2005 from the Bay Area. She 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.

The case was one of 226 runaway cases handled by Ceres Police in 2006. Most of those cases are resolved when the child returns home, said Ceres Police Chief Art deWerk.

DeWerk said missing persons cases and runaway cases are treated differently. He said his agency did everything it could to look into the case. Sgt. Berber said that after questioning the parents, Alycia's name was entered into the Missing Unidentified Persons System. Normally runaways are not entered into the Amber Alert system, said Berber.

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.

"Investigators are working around the clock and this case is far from being over," said Sgt. Berber. "Additional parties still need to be interviewed that may have been at the location at the time of Alycia's disappearance."