Man awaiting trial in girlfriend’s death arrested on new charge

Matthew Stoddard. (Jail photo)
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GATESVILLE, Texas (KWTX) Matthew Stoddard, 23, of Copperas Cove, who’s awaiting trial in the 2016 death of his teenage girlfriend, was back in jail Friday, charged with sexual assault of a child.

The charge stems from a Texas Rangers investigation that started in November 2017 after Copperas Cove police responded in Stepember 2017 to a domestic dispute between Stoddard and his girlfriend, who authorities later "identified as a juvenile," an arrest warrant affidavit says.

Stoddard told investigators he thought she was in her early 20s.

"Due to the nature of the investigation and close relationship of Stoddard to a (Copperas Cove Police Department) employee the District Attorney requested my assistance in the matter," the investigating Ranger said in the Jan. 9 affidavit.

Stoddard was held in the Coryell County Jail Friday in lieu of $35,000 bond, according to online records.

He was indicted last fall for murder in the July 2016 shooting death of his teenage roommate in Harker Heights.

Investigators were at first told that Angelica Nicole Santiago, 18, had committed suicide, but investigators found evidence “to believe that a murder had occurred,” police said.

Officers who responded to what was initially dispatched as a medical call at around 12:30 a.m. on July 10, 2016, found Santiago dead of a gunshot wound in the apartment in the 1400 block of Hopi Trail that she shared with Stoddard, who was also there, police said.

Officers found Stoddard in the bathroom of the apartment and Santiago lying “in a large pool of blood on the bathroom floor” with a firearm a few feet away, an arrest warrant affidavit says.

Stoddard told officers he was in the bathroom with Santiago when “she grabbed the gun, put it to her head and shot herself,” the affidavit said.

A medical examiner’s report, however, found that Santiago suffered two gunshot wounds to the head and ruled the cause of death as homicide.

The bond on the murder charge was initially set at $1 million, but it was later reduced to $150,000.