CHICAGO (WLS) -- A woman who was fatally stabbed while waiting for a CTA train in the Loop early Saturday morning identified her attacker before she died of her injuries, Chicago police said.
Alejandro Arellano, 31, of Chicago, is charged with first-degree murder in the case, Chicago police announced Monday morning.
"A key piece of evidence in this case came from the victim herself: she named Arellano as the offender before she succumbed to her injuries," First Deputy Supt. Eric Carter said.
According to prosecutors, the victim and suspect were in a relationship for about 5 months, but recently broke up - and it was in her final moments when police say she named her attacker. The victim's family identified her as 26-year-old Samantha Maldonado.
WATCH | Police announce charges in deadly Loop stabbing on CTA platform
Moments after identifying her body, Maldonado's cousin and father spoke about their grief, calling the experience "heartbreaking." They said she was from Ecuador and had only lived in Chicago for less than a year.
"Although, this offender is in custody, there's still a family at the center of this who is grieving the loss of a young woman who had her whole life ahead of her," Carter said.
Arellano appeared in court Monday afternoon. Asst. Cook County State's Attorney Anne McCord said he met up with Maldonado at Miller's Pub early Saturday morning. The manager, Matt Gallios, said he took little notice of a couple tucked in the dark back corner of the classic bar near Wabash and Adams.
It was nearly closing time when he said the woman ran out of the bar with a man. Police and family said was her ex-boyfriend, close on her heels.
"As the defendant was going up the stairs of the CTA station, he pulled out a folding knife from his pocket and extended the blade," McCord said. "He then put the knife back into his pocket."
Prosecutors say once Maldonado got on the platform, she tried to hide behind a CTA equipment box, but Arellano wasn't far behind. She then tried to board an arriving train, but prosecutors say he stopped her, pushing her away. The train then left them both.
Surveillance video shows the victim trying to walk away, and that's when prosecutors say Arellano attacked her.
"As the defendant approached the victim from behind, he grabbed her neck and shoulder area and stabbed her multiple times," McCord said. "She was able to pull away from the defendant and stumble down the CTA steps. The defendant stayed on the platform, boarded a train and went home."
Bloodied and gasping for life, investigators said Maldonado stumbled back down to the street, where witnesses gathered around her to help. Those bystanders couldn't save Samantha's life, but police said her dying words may have solved her own murder.
"She named Arellano as the offender before she succumbed to her injuries," Carter said.
About 14 hours later, Arellano was arrested outside of his home while prosecutors say he was wearing the same clothes he wore during the attack and still had the weapon used in his pocket.
"We're thankful she was able to share that information, mostly," her cousin told ABC7. "And for us, we're just really grateful that we're able to have an answer. It helps the family feel more at peace."
Maldonado's father rushed to Chicago from Ecuador to identify his daughter, who was a trained engineer.
"He wanted the absolute best for her, for her dreams," the victim's cousin said.
She left her South American home less than a year ago in pursuit of something better.
Arellano is being held on no bond. He's due back in court later this month.
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