Hazleton Homicide Arrest Made in Mexico
WILKES-BARRE — Prosecutors and police announced an arrest this afternoon for a homicide that happened in Hazleton more than a year ago, and they say the suspect was captured in Mexico.
Law enforcement officials were all smiles at the Luzerne County Courthouse as they announced a homicide suspect who had been on the run for a year is now locked up.
Oscar Garcia is behind bars in Mexico. He’s accused of strangling Maria Brea in Hazleton.
“It’s disturbing to see the way that this woman was killed and because of it was all the more reason detectives take it personal, and they’re working round the clock to try and get justice,” said Hazleton Police Chief Frank DeAndrea.
Police say Brea was reported missing in December 2012 shortly after breaking up with Garcia. When police searched her apartment on East Diamond Avenue in Hazleton, they found the mother of two in the attic. She had been strangled and covered in plastic.
Police say Garcia told his boss he was having problems at home and was leaving for Mexico. Police filed a criminal homicide charge against Garcia last January. But by that time, he had already left the country. U.S. Marshals finally found him on Monday in Puebla, Mexico.
“I’m very hopeful that the family can find some measure of comfort, knowing that this individual is now behind bars and not free, running around our society,” said U.S. Marshal Martin Pane.
Officials say this is the first time an arrest has been made in Mexico for a violent crime that happened here in Luzerne County.
“We can work to make sure fugitives are located and brought to justice no matter their location. You can run but you cannot hide,” said Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis.
Garcia is locked up in Mexico. Officials say it could take several months to get him back to Luzerne County to face a charge of criminal homicide.