KAUFMAN -- On Wednesday, a fugitive who had been on the run for 22 years after allegedly murdering a man at a Kaufman laundromat was arrested in Kansas, thanks to a captain who decided the case could use fresh leads and a Crime Stoppers tipster.
On June 9, 1994, 25-year-old Francisco Sanchez Salazar was shot 14 times at the City Coin Laundry in Kaufman and was later pronounced dead. Witnesses told police at the time that they had seen a man running from the scene with a handgun. Investigators were able to identify the man as 23-year-old Alvaro Iglesias Rodriguez.
However, two days after he was identified, Rodriguez crossed the border into Mexico. He hadn’t been seen in the U.S. since, until this week.
According to Kaufman Police Captain Ed Black, Kaufman County recently began publishing its “Top 10 Most Wanted” list in a local newspaper, and Cpt. Black decided to add Rodriguez to the list to see if it might drum up any tips on the 22-year-old case.
A few weeks after it was published, Kaufman police received a Crime Stoppers tip that Rodriguez was living in Wichita, Kansas, under the name “Mauricio San Miguel Reyes.”
Police began investigating to try to verify the tip. Cpt. Black said the lead investigator in the 1994 murder, Thomas Bohn, had left the department in the years since, but returned to the department in 2014. He said Bohn’s input regarding the crime scene and investigation was “very valuable” to cracking the cold case.
Detective Sergeant Tommy Black and Kaufman County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert McGee hunted through the sheriff’s department achieves and were able to find an arrest record for disorderly conduct for the suspect. Included in the arrest record was Rodriguez’s fingerprint card.
They called police in Wichita, Kansas, and began working to see if “Mauricio San Miguel Reyes” was, in fact, Alvaro Iglesias Rodriguez. Police in Kansas found an arrest of “Reyes” from several years ago, for which the suspect was also fingerprinted.
The prints were a match.
Two Kaufman police detectives traveled to Wichita to work to apprehend Rodriguez. He was taken into custody at 6 p.m. on Wednesday without incident.
Police explained to Rodriguez’s family why he was arrested, and they revealed they knew what he had allegedly done 22 years earlier in Kaufman. They said he had fled to Mexico, where he stayed for three years before returning to the U.S. and settling in Kansas.
Cpt. Black said Kaufman police are unsure if Rodriguez will fight his extradition back to Kaufman legally, but said the department was “confident that the process to get him back here to face the citizens of Kaufman, will not be a lengthy one.”
Black credited the investigators in the case for bringing Rodriguez to face justice 22 years after the crime. He also said the case is proof the Crime Stoppers anonymous tip program works.
“Without that tip, this fugitive probably would have never been captured,” Black said.