By Louisa Moller, WBZ-TV

WORCESTER (CBS) – The cousin of a Worcester murder victim says stronger immigration policies could have saved her loved one’s life.

Sandra Hehir was found strangled in her Worcester home back in February. WBZ has learned the man arrested for her murder, 55-year-old Jose Melendez, is living in the United States illegally. ICE has placed an immigration detainer on him to possibly deport him.

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Prosecutors say Melendez was linked to Hehir’s death after DNA evidence taken from the crime scene at Sandra’s home matched an unidentified DNA profile from an unsolved Worcester rape back in 2000.

Sandra Hehir (WBZ-TV)

Prosecutors also say Melendez has several aliases and a long criminal record including three outstanding matters.

“Well, there’s a lot of frustrations because we need to protect everyone. And, to have people like this running around, it’s scary,” Hehir’s cousin, Judy Solomon, told WBZ.

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Solomon says she is in support of the Trump administration’s policy, announced Monday, to take away Justice Department grants from sanctuary cities.

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“I just think whatever needs to be done for justice for her, if we have to stop funding then let’s do it. It hits home. It’s hard,” Solomon said.

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Now that Melendez is under arrest, Solomon says she wants him to face justice in Massachusetts before he is potentially deported.