A convicted felon who allegedly tried to strangle his girlfriend and her two children at their Riverside home then fled to Mexico was extradited back to the United States and is expected to be in Riverside County soon, authorities said Thursday.
Leopoldo Martinez Garcia was charged in 2004 with three counts of attempted murder, as well as two counts of child abuse and one count each of attempted torture, false imprisonment, making criminal threats, assault with a firearm and witness intimidation.
According to Riverside police, Mexican state police last week located Garcia in Michoacan, where he was taken into custody without incident and transferred to U.S. Marshals, who transported the fugitive to Texas, where is awaiting return to Riverside, which should happen this summer.
Officer Ryan Railsback said investigators with the Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force, which includes Riverside police detectives, was instrumental in tracking down the wanted man after his nearly 15 years on the run.
According to Railsback, on Aug. 23, 2004, Garcia became enraged with his then-girlfriend, whose identity was not released, during an argument in her residence in the 2700 block of Iris Street and allegedly choked her until she fell unconscious.
Railsback alleged that the defendant also choked and beat the woman’s year-old and 4-year-old children.
“While holding up a shotgun, Garcia threatened to kill the victim and one of her kids and also put the second child inside a dryer appliance,” the police spokesman said.
The convicted felon allegedly held the family for hours until the woman was able to grab her two kids and slip out of the home to call 911, according to Railsback.
When patrol officers reached the residence, Garcia was gone.
Investigators believe he immediately fled south of the border and changed his identity.
Railsback did not specify what methods were used to eventually locate him.
Court records indicate Garcia has two prior convictions, but the offenses occurred in another jurisdiction and were not disclosed.