UPDATED -- FBI seeks help in finding murder suspect's brother
The FBI is seeking the public's help in helping find Simon Lopez-Orozco, the brother of Jorge Lopez-Orozco, accused of a triple murder in Elmore County.
The announcement was made during a special news conference in Boise, conducted by the FBI with representatives from the Elmore County Sheriff's Office in attendance.
Simon Lopez-Orozco is believed by authorities to have driven Jorge Lopez-Orozco to California within 24 hours after the killings, and then later drove him to Mexico, helping him escape prosecution for the crimes.
Although not listed as a "Top Ten" fugitive by the FBI, Simon Lopez-Orozco is wanted for accessory to murder, a charge that could carry the same penalties as the alleged murders themselves.
It's been almost six months since the arrest of FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitive Jorge Lopez-Orozco, who faces prosecution in Elmore County, for the 2002 murders of his girlfriend, Rebecca Ramirez, and her two young children, ages 2 and 4.
Their bodies had been found shot and burned beyond recognition in a car on a remote rural road in southern Elmore County.
Elmore County Detective Captain Mike Barclay said they believe the murder occurred because Ramirez had threatened to disclose their affair to Lopez-Orozco's wife.
Jorge Lopez-Orozco was placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list in 2005 and apprehended by Mexican authorities in October 2009 while hauling metal to a scrap yard in Zihautanejo, Mexico.
Elmore County is still waiting for his extradition from Mexico. Because Mexico will not extradite anyone facing the death penalty, local prosecutors have agreed not to seek the death penalty in the case, but if convicted he could face life in prison without parole.
Authorities said Wednesday during the press conference that they expected the extradition process to be completed this summer. Elmore County Sheriff Rick Layher said the delay in extradition since Jorge Lopez-Orozco was arrested by Mexican authorities was not unusual.
All the paperwork has been completed and Layher said he was confident Jorge Lopez-Orozco would be returned in the next few months to Elmore County to face the triple-murder charges.
Authorities said Wednesday that all of the material witnesses needed for the trial have been identified and located and will be available when the case is taken to court.
The FBI and the Elmore County Sheriff's Office used the press conference to help launch the 60th Anniversary of the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" program with a renewed request for tips on the whereabouts of Jorge's brother, Simon.
According to Simon Lopez-Orozco's FBI wanted poster, which can be found at http://saltlakecity.fbi.gov/index.html, he is 5'6", 180 pounds with a scar on his left cheek.
The photo shown with this story is from his California driver's license.
The public is reminded not to approach Lopez-Orozco if they see hime and instead phone in tips to local law enforcement, the nearest FBI Office, or the FBI Salt Lake City Division at (801) 579-1400.
Simon Lopez-Orozco is believed to be currently in Mexico, authorities said at the press conference, but they also think he slips back and forth across the border at times. He has family ties in southern Idaho, southern California and Mexico. When he is in the United States authorities believe he seeks farm and field-labor jobs.
Jorge Lopez-Orozco's brother and sister were previous convicted of evidence tampering and aiding and abetting the crime. Simon Lopez-Orozco's common law wife, Maria Garcia, was acquitted of being an accessory to crime. She indicated her husband had been in Mexico at least two years ago.
The FBI's "Top Ten" program began from a newspaper story in late 1949. A reporter for International News Service asked the FBI for the names and descriptions of the "toughest guys" the bureau would like to capture. The story had so much appeal and generated so much positive publicity that in March 1950, former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover implemented the "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" program.
To date, 494 fugitives have been placed on the list with 152 caught as a result of citizen cooperation.
Last October, Jorge Lopez-Orozco became the 463rd person on the list to be apprehended or located. He was only the third Idahoan ever placed on the list, and his inclusion was largely due to the "heinous" nature of the crime Det. Barclay said.
Information about today's "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" can be found on the Internet, television, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, podcasts, cell phone applications, and digital billboards. As technology continues to advance and innovative applications surface, the FBI intends to utilize all the tools available to publicize the "Top Ten" Fugitives and engage the public in helping to locate them.
More information about the "Top Ten" Fugitives is available on the FBI's Internet home page at www.fbi.gov.