Two men wanted for separate Houston murders were caught together in Guadalajara, Mexico yesterday afternoon. The crimes, which occurred about two years apart, were unrelated. The suspected killers are cousins.
"Murder runs in this family," said homicide detective Michael Miller of the Houston Police Department at a press conference this afternoon.
Timoteo Rios, 24, was wanted for the April 2008 slaying of Tina Davila. Davila was stabbed and killed outside a cell phone store when she refused to hand her keys to a carjacker because her baby was inside, as shown in a surveillance video from the store.
Esequiel Rios Villareal, 42, is accused of hunting down and slaying his wife, Benedicta Gonzales, in February 2006 after she had moved into a new apartment. Gonzales was killed in the presence of all seven of her children, according to Miller. Villareal had returned to Houston after being previously incarcerated and deported. His car was found shortly afterward at the Mexican border.
"The family is overjoyed he's in custody," Miller said.
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The two men, who are believed to be Mexican citizens, were living together in Guadalajara, according to Brian Ritchie, head of the violent crimes task force in the FBI's Houston division. Acting on a tip or tips, Ritchie said, law enforcement officials arrested Villareal at home yesterday at 11:30 a.m. Ninety minutes later, Rios was arrested as he was laying bricks for his construction job.
The extradition process could take up to six months, but Ritchie was optimistic that Mexican officials would continue to help with moving thing along. To help with the process, the Harris County District Attorney's Office will not seek the death penalty, as the Houston Chronicle reported this morning. Villareal will likely be extradited as well.
It took following through on countless tips and the cooperation of a number of law enforcement departments, as well as Mexican police, to track the fugitives down, according to Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia.
"Any time people leave our immediate jurisdiction, even if they stay in the U.S., it becomes complicated," Garcia said. "And you can multiply that by 100 when they leave the country."