A man wanted in the 1982 rape and murder of two California girls was captured in Mexico after nearly three decades on the lam in a case that already has sent one man to death row, authorities said.
FBI agents and Mexican federal police arrested Alfredo Reyes, 51, on May 27 outside a pool hall in Tijuana, where he had been living under an alias, the Record of Stockton reported Friday.
Investigators say 13-year-olds Renee Rontal and Nancy Rubia were out looking for fun on a popular cruising strip in Stockton when they were picked up by a 22-year-old Reyes and 21-year-old Antonio Espinoza on the night of Jan. 25, 1982.
"These girls were in and out of cars all night long," Elbert Holman, a retired sheriff's detective who led the initial investigation, told The Record. "They got into the wrong car."
The next day, a farmworker found Renee in a ditch outside town with her throat cut. Nancy was found nearby face down in shallow water, and an autopsy concluded that she died from drowning in the muddy water. Both girls had been beaten and raped, according to court documents.
Espinoza was arrested a year and a half after the killing and was convicted of murder. He is now on California's death row.
San Joaquin County prosecutors say they're negotiating with Mexican officials to extradite Reyes back to Stockton to face charges. They already have agreed not to seek the death penalty for Reyes as one condition of extradition, Chief Deputy District Attorney Ron Freitas told The Record.
"We're very optimistic that he will be tried in a San Joaquin County court and be held accountable, as he should be," Freitas said.
Renee's brother, Joseph Rontal, said he is looking forward to finally seeing Reyes in a courtroom.
"I know throughout the years this man was running," Rontal, 44, told The Record. "He didn't have a conscience. It's time for him to be put away, man."
Information from: The Record, http://www.recordnet.com/