A man accused of shooting his estranged pregnant wife to death in El Monte in 2018, then fleeing to Mexico, was extradited back to Los Angeles County to face trial last week, authorities announced Wednesday.
Octavio Curiel-Martinez, 37, described as a Mexican national, is charged with two counts of murder, two counts of assault with a firearm, two counts of spousal abuse, two counts of felony child endangerment, six counts of misdemeanor child endangerment, shooting at an inhabited dwelling and assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, the FBI said in a written statement.
The shooting took place on Aug. 29, 2018, and claimed the life of Ana Maria Nunez, 37, of El Monte, as well as her unborn son, listed in coroner’s records as Jesus Nunez. Ana Nunez was believed to be about six months pregnant when she was fatally shot at her home in the 2700 block of Leafdale Avenue, according to L.A. County Sheriff’s Department homicide detectives.
Just prior to the killing, Curiel-Martinez drove to the home of his father, also in El Monte, and shot at him multiple times, according to sheriff’s and FBI officials. The father was not injured.
“Fearing for the safety of Martinez’s wife, family members drove to her residence in El Monte,” the FBI statement said. “Martinez’s pregnant wife was discovered at the scene. She had suffered multiple gunshot wounds. Martinez’s wife and unborn child were pronounced dead at a hospital later that evening.”
An autopsy determined Ana Nunez died from “gunshot wounds of the torso,” while Jesus Nunez died from “intra-uterine fetal demise due to maternal death,” according to L.A. County Department of Medical Examiner records. Both deaths were ruled to be homicides.
L.A. County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau detectives identified Curiel-Martinez as a suspect in the shootings and learned that he had fled to Mexico, according to FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller. Detectives then enlisted the help of the FBI to track him down, and a federal arrest warrant alleging unlawful flight to avoid prosecution was issued in March 2019.
“Curiel-Martinez was located based on information provided by U.S. investigators and arrested by Mexican police officers on unrelated local charges in Bolanos, Jalisco, Mexico on May 17, 2019,” Eimiller said.
The suspect was held in Mexico City prior to extradition back to California, which took place Friday.
Curiel-Martinez was being held without bail, booking records show. He was scheduled to make an appearance in L.A. County Superior Court on Feb. 19.