A man was taken into custody more than 14 years after his then-girlfriend reported that he battered and strangled her and her two children in Riverside and threatened to kill them and put one of the children in a dryer, the Riverside Police Department said Wednesday.
The suspect, Leopoldo Martinez Garcia, severely battered and strangled the 24-year-old woman unconscious, and also battered and strangled her 1 and 4-year-old children in August 2004 at a home in the 2700 block of Iris Street in the Eastside neighborhood of Riverside, police said.
Garcia refused to allow her to leave or call for help for her and the children, according to authorities.
He held up shotgun and threatened to kill her and one of the kids, and put the other in the dryer, police said.
The mother and her children escaped the next day and called police, but officers couldn't find Garcia and he was believed to have changed his identity and fled the country, Riverside Police said.
The Riverside Police Department’s METRO Team was called to assist with the case in 2017. The task force assists the U.S. Marshall Service with finding and arresting criminals who flee the country.
About a year later, authorities narrowed down Garcia's location to the Mexican state of Michoacán and the investigation continued until the task force and Mexican authorities found two possible locations for the suspect within the state, police said.
Garcia was found and detained in Michoacán last week by Mexican authorities on May 16 and then transferred into U.S. custody, according to Riverside Police.
The U.S. Marshals Service is holding Garcia in Texas where he awaits extradition to Riverside County.
He faces three counts of attempted murder and several other felony offenses, according to authorities.
No further details were immediately available.