Posted By: Hannah Paczkowski
It all started when the body of a former UNL student was found last week.
Police suspect 19-year-old Mikael Loyd strangled 19-year-old Melissa Rodriguez and dumped her body in an open grave in Omaha.
"There's yellow tape everywhere the whole half of the graveyard was taped off," an Omaha man said.
Now, we've learned this tragedy could have been avoided.
Police say Loyd contacted them several times before the murder, he wanted to turn himself in on an outstanding warrant, but after questioning Loyd's health, police took him to the Lasting Hope Recovery Center.
A couple days later Loyd was released, but the center never told police.
Then that night, August 15, Loyd contacted a detective just hours before Rodriguez was killed.
Loyd's family says he has had a history of mental health issues and some believe those issues might have something to do with Rodriguez's death.
"That's a cry out, that's a red flag for us to really start getting proactive," Hope of Glory Church Pastor Bruce Williams said.
Which is exactly what State Senator Brad Ashford is hoping to do.
"We have to analyze what happened we have to understand what happened so we can make correct policy," he said.
Ashford says Nebraska has a huge problem with mental health care.
"There are many, many, many young people in the 19–25 group that are in desperate need of mental health services. It happens over and over again and many of the horrific crimes in Nebraska can be traced back to that," he said.
Omaha police say they're working with Lasting Hope to try and figure out why they weren't notified of Loyd's release.
His preliminary hearing is scheduled for September 10.