A Central Valley man accused of killing his estranged girlfriend and dumping her body in Imperial County was arrested Thursday in Mexico, investigators said.
Adel Hussein, 44, was found hiding in a motel in Mexicali, just across the border from Calexico, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
Hussein was being held in Imperial County on suspicion of murder in the death of 36-year-old Brittney Steenbergen, whose body was found on New Year’s Day in a rural area of the county.
Steenbergen shared four children with Hussein, one of whom called authorities New Year’s Eve to report her mother hadn’t been seen since Dec. 28 — and Hussein had also disappeared.
Though they were estranged, officials said Hussein lived with Steenbergen and the children in the tiny rural community of Plainview, about 50 miles north of Bakersfield.
Investigators determined a domestic violence incident possibly took place in the time leading up to Steenbergen’s death. However, officials have yet to announce a cause of death in the case.
Two days after Steenbergen’s body was found, detectives located Hussein’s Toyota RAV4 in El Centro. The suspect had last been seen in Tipton, not far from Plainview, on New Year’s Eve.
U.S. Marshals, Imperial County sheriff’s deputies and Mexican authorities worked together to find and arrest Hussein. Tulare County homicide detectives were headed to Imperial County to assist with the investigation Thursday evening.
The couple’s children, meanwhile, have been placed in the custody of relatives, deputies said.