Sedge Court murder suspect apprehended


by Joe Arnold

Posted on July 26, 2013 at 3:49 PM

Updated Saturday, Jul 27 at 4:30 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) -- Steven Zapata, the prime suspect in Thursday’s homicide in a quiet PRP neighborhood, was arrested in Tennessee.

Authorities arrested Zapata just before 7 p.m. on Friday in Springfield, Tennessee. He was wanted in connection with the murder of Tondelia Zapata whom he married just two months ago.

"We have two possible destinations that are in opposite directions," said Lt. Todd Kessinger of the LMPD Homicide Unit.

Metro police say they are in touch with police agencies in two undisclosed locations to be on the lookout for 53-year-old Steven Zapata. 

"We believe he is driving a 2010 black Hyundai Sonata," Kessinger said.  "It does have a Kentucky license plate on it, Kentucky tag 540 KTE. and obviously if you do see that vehicle, call 574-LMPD."

Though Zapata has been identified as a suspect, the Jefferson County Coroner's office had not disclosed the victim's identity or the cause of death as of 3:30pm Friday afternoon.

"The scene, it was an obvious assault," Kessinger said, "basically we're going to call it an assault, but I don't want to get into the exact cause of death."

Kessinger said the woman's relatives discovered her body.
"I seen two young ladies across the street moving around screaming and crying," said
Antwain Elliott, a neighbor.  "Once they entered the apartment that's when I heard a louder scream. like somebody was attacked by a dog or something."

"This neighborhood is real quiet," said another neighbor, Cornelius Walker, "Everybody minds their own business."

Metro police say they don't know the motive.  Zapata married the victim about two months ago, Kessinger said and police believe he was last in contact with his friends and family on Thursday.

"I think he indicated that something had occured," Kessinger said, "but as to exactly what he said happened he didn't go into great detail."

Police said they had no record of any prior domestic violence calls to the victim's apartment.  They say Zapata had one prior charge on his record, for driving under the influence.

Wind chimes hang silently outside the victim's apartment about two blocks from Pleasure Ridge Park High School.

"I'm still trying to figure out how that can happen in our neighborhood because it's quiet around here and we know everything that goes on around here," Elliott said.

"I hope they catch the guy," Walker added.