Suspect on FBI's most wanted list captured in Mexico

WHITTIER - A Los Angeles man charged with multiple murders - including a killing in Whittier - and listed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list, was arrested in Mexico late last month.Jose Luis Saenz, 37 , was arrested Nov. 23 by Mexican law enforcement acting on information developed by a fugitive task force in Los Angeles. Saenz, a U.S. citizen, is the prime suspect in the 1998 murders of two men in the Hollenbeck area of Los Angeles. Less than two weeks later, Saenz is believed to have kidnapped, raped and murdered Sigreta Fernandez, the mother of his child . Soon after, Saenz was charged with three counts of murder, kidnapping and rape and an arrest warrant was issued on Aug. 12, 1998. The latest murder for which Saenz is wanted occurred in October 2008 when Oscar Torres was killed in his Whittier home. Detectives in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department believe Saenz killed Torres in connection with a drug debt. Saenz is also wanted for shooting and wounding a second man the same night. Torres' murder was captured on his home surveillance system and Saenz was identified as the killer. When LAPD detectives determined Saenz had fled the state, the FBI joined the investigation. The FBI obtained a federal arrest warrant in 2002. The task force recently learned that Saenz was living in a Guadalajara neighborhood, in violation of Mexico's immigration law. Saenz was arrested without incident on Thanksgiving Day and held overnight in a local police facility. He was flown back to Los Angeles, escorted by FBI agents, on Friday night. After landing at LAX, he was immediately turned over to the LAPD. "Mr. Saenz ran, but ultimately couldn't hide, from those committed to finding him so that the families of his alleged victims might find justice," said Bill Lewis, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles field office. L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca called Saenz's arrest "a great example of the tenacious effort and hard work of all the detectives involved." "We are pleased that after a decade long investigation that we are able to bring this dangerous fugitive to justice," he added. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck also weighed in, saying "the message to violent criminals is clear: no matter how far you run, or how long it takes, we will find you and bring you to justice." Federal charges against Saenz will likely be dropped to keep Saenz in Los Angeles County while he awaits prosecution for murder charges.

********** Published: December 6, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 34