ELIZABETH — A man charged with the sexual assault of three children, but who fled to Colombia before he could be arrested, was returned to Union County earlier this month after a cooperative investigation by local, federal, and foreign law enforcement agencies.
On Jan. 20, 2011, Detective Sofia Santos from the Union County Child Advocacy Center began an investigation into the sexual assault of two girls and one infant boy and had identified a suspect in the case, said Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow.
The suspect, Anyelo Martinez, 37, left the United States for Bogota, Colombia on Feb. 8, 2011, a day before he was scheduled to speak with Santos regarding the investigation, said Romankow. Several days later Martinez’ wife and children left the country, also traveling to Colombia , however authorities kept the investigation open and active in Union County.
On March 11, 2011, Martinez was charged with a first degree aggravated sexual assault and multiple counts of second degree sexual assault. A grand jury returned an indictment one week later. The following month, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, in cooperation with the United States Department of Justice, sought the defendant’s extradition from Colombia .
“Detective Santos, working with the FBI and the US Embassy in Colombia, continued to pursue Martinez,” said Romakow. “On August 1, 2011, Martinez was arrested by the Colombian government in Bogota. Following a formal request for his transfer and extradition to the United States he arrived in the United States on June 7, 2012 and is set for arraignment.”
This case represents the first time the staff of the Union County Child Advocacy Center has located a suspect who fled the United States and successfully arrested defendant in another country.
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