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Salem, OR – Marion County District Attorney’s Office provided an update Monday, August 6, 2012, at a news conference in Keizer, Oregon about the ongoing investigation and international search for information to help lead to the arrest of ALFREDO De JESUS ASCENCIO, a fugitive wanted in connection with a fatal traffic crash five years ago that killed Marion County Deputy Kelly Fredinburg and Oscar Ascencio-Amaya. Representatives from Oregon State Police and Marion County Sheriff’s Office joined the Marion District Attorney’s Office in sharing some information about the behind-the-scenes work done to date to try and find De JESUS ASCENCIO.
Additionally, Deputy Fredinburg’s family announced the establishment of the “Oregon Officer Reward Fund” that will be used in this and future cases to help find suspects wanted in connection with line of duty police officer injury or death criminal investigations in Oregon. This is the first case to be supported by the “Oregon Officer Reward Fund” to help investigators find the fugitive responsible for the death of Deputy Fredinburg. A reward of up to $20,000 is offered in this investigation for information that leads to the arrest of De JESUS ASCENCIO. This reward is in addition to $1,000 offered by Crime Stoppers (#07-28) for information that leads to an arrest in the case.
ALFREDO De JESUS ASCENCIO, who turned 25 years of age in January 2012, has been sought by the Marion County District Attorney’s Office, Oregon State Police (OSP) and Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) since he was indicted August 3, 2007 by a Marion County Grand Jury on two counts of Criminally Negligent Homicide.
On June 16, 2007 at approximately 11:30 p.m. Deputy Fredinburg was enroute to an emergency call southbound on Highway 99E north of Gervais when his patrol car was struck head-on by a northbound vehicle driven by De JESUS ASCENCIO. Deputy Fredinburg’s patrol car caught fire and he was pronounced deceased at the scene. Fredinburg joined MCSO in August 2006 after working the previous six years for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. He was 33 years old when he died.
Nineteen-year old passenger, Oscar Ascencio-Amaya, died from his injuries the following day at a Portland-area hospital. A second passenger received minor injuries.
De JESUS ASCENCIO, who was 20 years of age at the time of the crash, was treated for critical injuries at a Portland-area hospital. Investigators learned later that he fled the U.S. to Mexico around the time he was indicted August 3, 2007 and an arrest warrant was signed by a judge.
The Fredinburg family worked closely with law enforcement officials to establish the reward fund available to help law enforcement arrest persons wanted in connection with line-of-duty police injury and death criminal investigations. Over $25,000 has been raised to date for the “Oregon Officer Reward Fund” (OORF).
“It’s been over 5 years since the suspect fled to avoid responsibility for Kelly’s death. Whether in the United States, Mexico or another country, we hope this reward will boost the investigative efforts that ultimately lead to an arrest,” said Gary Fredinburg.
District Attorney Walt Beglau thanked Senator Ron Wyden, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Office of the Attorney General of Mexico, California Department of Justice Foreign Prosecution Unit, and local investigators for their help as part of the extensive international cooperation between U.S. and Mexican authorities in the search for De JESUS ASCENCIO.
Investigators believe De JESUS ASCENCIO is currently at an unknown location in Mexico. Pursuant to a treaty between the United States and Mexico, the crimes for which he was indicted in Oregon are not eligible for extradition from Mexico. Following an inquiry by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Senator Wyden it was decided that the Marion County District Attorney’s Office would pursue the Mexican Federal Penal Code – “Article 4 prosecution” – that allows for Mexican citizens who commit crimes in foreign territories to be prosecuted in Mexico. In this case, if he remains in Mexico all further prosecution and sentencing, if convicted, rests fully in the hands of Mexican courts. This decision was come to in 2009 after it became apparent the only way prosecution would occur in Oregon is if the defendant voluntarily came back into the United States.
In January 2010, representatives from OSP and Marion County District Attorney’s Office traveled to San Diego, California. They met with California Department of Justice’s Foreign Prosecution Unit and a representative from Mexico’s Office of Attorney General to enlist their assistance.
In September 2010, investigators from OSP Criminal Investigation Division traveled to Mexico City to present the Article 4 case to Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office and enlist their help in prosecuting De JESUS ASCENCIO in Mexico. About one year later, the District Attorney’s office was informed the case was accepted and a warrant was issued in Mexico for the suspect’s arrest.
One year later, Mexican authorities contacted investigators when they believed the fugitive was located, but positive identification efforts confirmed it was not De JESUS ASCENCIO.
The Mexican Federal Penal Code, under Article 4, allows for the domestic prosecution of Mexican nationals who commit crimes in a foreign country and then flee back to Mexico in search of a safe haven from prosecution. Article 4 of the Mexican Federal Penal Code permits a state or federal agency to request of the Mexican authorities that a suspected criminal be arrested and prosecuted in Mexico.
The treaty between the United States and Mexico does not obligate either party to extradite its own nationals. However, Mexican officials are willing to discuss fugitive cases with their American counterparts, and to conduct Article 4 prosecutions when appropriate.
Crimes committed in a foreign country by a Mexican citizen against a foreign citizen, or by a foreign citizen against a Mexican citizen will be punished in Mexico, in accordance with federal law, if the following requirements are met:
* That the defendant be in the Republic of Mexico;
* That the defendant has not been definitively tried in the country where the crime was committed; and
* That the crime with which the defendant is charged be a crime in both the country where it was committed and the Republic of Mexico.
MCSO Sheriff Jason Myers expressed his appreciation for the work by investigators and the international cooperation.
“Kelly’s death was felt by the community he served and every member of the Polk and Marion County Sheriff’s Office. We are very thankful for the work by the Oregon State Police and District Attorneys’ Office, the international collaborative effort, and the Fredinburg family’s support. Hopefully the victims’ families will find some peace knowing we haven’t given up and that someone will soon come forward with information needed to find and arrest the fugitive,” said Myers.
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