Written by AARON CASTREJON
LOS ANGELES - The suspect who hid away in Mexico until federal and Mexican authorities took him into custody faced arraignment on multiple murder charges Tuesday.
Octavio Curiel Martinez, 38, was charged with one count each of murder, murder of a human fetus, attempted murder, shooting at an inhabited structure, assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury, three misdemeanor counts each of cruelty to a child by endangering health, two counts each of assault with a firearm, injuring a spouse and child abuse, according to Ricardo Santiago of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Martinez also faced the special circumstance allegation of multiple murders and allegations of using a handgun, Santiago said.
Martinez is accused of shooting and killing estranged wife Ana Nuñez, 37, and their unborn child August 29, 2018 in their El Monte home.
Martinez was extradited from Mexico to the U.S. January 3 and arrested by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies.
Martinez, a Mexican national, was originally arrested by Mexican police on unrelated charges May 17, 2019 in Bolanos, Jalisco, Mexico -- right where investigators believed he fled.
Nuñez’s family went to her El Monte home to check on her hours after Martinez allegedly fired upon, but failed to injure a family member. She was found with multiple gunshot wounds, investigators said.
Nunez and her unborn child later died at a hospital. The coroner listed her cause of death as multiple gunshot wounds of the torso.
The estranged couple share additional children who were not home when the shooting took place, investigators said.
A state warrant was issued for Curiel-Martinez’s arrest September 5, 2018.
The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued a federal arrest warrant March 15, 2019 and he was federally charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, the FBI said.
The arrest and extradition was the work of the Policía Federal Ministerial, Fiscalia General de la Republica, Instituto Nacional de Migracion, the FBI’s Legal Attaché in Mexico City, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s detectives, the El Monte Police Department and the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.
The extradition was handled by prosecutors with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs.
“Curiel-Martinez’s extradition was sponsored by the U.S. government’s “Project Welcome Home,” which provides funding for the transportation of FBI fugitives to the United States, where the repatriation by the host country occurs through deportation or extradition,” the FBI said.
A $10,000 reward was offered for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of Curiel-Martinez, but it is unclear if anyone will claim the reward.
If convicted as charged, Martinez faces a possible maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.