Tucumcari homicide suspect nabbed in Washington state

By Paula Horton: The Daily World

What started as a traffic stop by Grays Harbor Sheriff’s deputies in Washington state may have ended up nabbing a New Mexico murder suspect who’s been on the lam for eight years, according to Undersheriff Rick Scott.

When a man was stopped for DUI just after midnight on Oct. 3 on Highway 12 near Porter, in upstate Washington, he gave deputies a different name and date of birth than the murder suspect. A check of the man’s fingerprints, however, produced a “hit” for the fugitive, who is being sought by the FBI.

Teodoro Barraza Garcia, 44, is wanted on charges of first-degree murder in connection with a stabbing death in Tucumcari on April 4, 1999, Scott said. The suspect had fled before police arrived but was identified by witnesses, the undersheriff said.

When Garcia was stopped for DUI last week, he told deputies that his name was Manuel Moreno-Garcia and he was 39.

He was the lone occupant in the van and presented a permanent resident alien card and a Social Security card as identification, Scott said. He did not have a driver’s license.
The van was registered to another man living in White Salmon, Wash., and Garcia said he was living out of the van in the Randle area, Scott said.

He was booked into the county jail for DUI, not having a valid driver’s license and was also cited for not having valid insurance and expired tabs. The following day he was ordered held in jail without bail because deputies had been unable to authenticate his identity and he was not able to provide an address where he was living, Scott said.

Meanwhile, the jail staff submitted his fingerprints to the automated fingerprint identification system and that’s when they got the “hit,” saying he was wanted by the FBI.

“We spoke to local authorities in New Mexico to confirm his identity and additionally confirmed his identity through tattoos,” Scott said. “We also sent photographs and they confirmed this is their suspect.” Garcia is being held on $250,000 bail and local authorities are awaiting information from New Mexico law enforcement to begin extradition proceedings.

Scott said detectives will work to make sure Garcia isn’t wanted by other agencies in the Northwest. According to the criminal history associated with his fingerprints, Garcia has used 12 aliases, five different Social Security numbers and a variety of birth dates ranging from 1956 to 1968, Scott said.