Update: Woman found dead in Knights Inn was strangled

Posted at 2:39 PM, Jul 18, 2013
and last updated 2014-03-21 00:35:52-04

Update: We now know that a woman found dead in an Ocean View motel room last year was strangled.

Court documents revealed the cause of death for 20-year-old Mercedes Tubens, whose body was found at the Knights Inn last January.

Her boyfriend at the time, Lincoln Peters is in jail for her murder.

Norfolk, Va. - Norfolk Police have arrested a man in connection to a homicide that occurred in January.

The 20-year-old woman's death at a motel was originally investigated as undetermined but has now been classified as a homicide.

Mercedes Tubens was found on the morning of January 25th in a room at the Knights Inn. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Lincoln Thomas Peters, 21, was taken into custody on Wednesday in Newport News and charged with murder.

NewsChannel 3 spoke with Peters in jail on Friday.

He says he was with Tubens that night but says he is not responsible for her death.

"We fell asleep together. She was whispering in my ear and the next thing I know I'm waking up, she's at the other end of the bed and I'm freaking out because she's not moving," he says.

Peters says he and Tubens had been dating on and off for two years. He says they had checked into the Knight's Inn the night before she died.

Mercedes' father, Jose Tubens, tells NewsChannel 3 that Mercedes was ready to end their relationship.

"She feels she didn't want to hurt him. She didn't know how to break it off with him," he says.

Since they both lived with their parents, Peters says the room at the motel would give them privacy. After having sex, Peters says he fell asleep.

"I went up to go to the bathroom first and when I came back, I saw that there was foam in her mouth and I was really scared. But when I touched her, she was like, cold. Really cold. It was awful," he says.

After calling 911, Peters says he stayed as investigators gathered evidence and questioned him. He says police told him his girlfriend had died of a drug overdose but Peters says that he didn't do any drugs with her that night.

"One day someone is telling me that it's an overdose and two days ago I get arrested and they're telling me that it was murder," Peters says.

After getting toxicology results back, police arrested Peters earlier this week at his Newport News home, charging him with second-degree murder.

For Jose, Peters' arrest is a relief.

"I have mixed emotions, some closure, and I feel as though my prayers have been answered," he says. "I am not a violent man. I'm not a vengeful man, but I want justice to be served.

Police are not releasing Tubens' cause of death.

Peters' hearing is scheduled for September 28th.


Woman found dead in Norfolk motel