ELIZABETH – A former Plainfield resident who fled to Honduras in June 2012 shortly after it was discovered that he had allegedly impregnated a 13-year-old girl, was arrested Tuesday night in Texas after he attempted to renter the country, Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow announced yesterday.
Israel Romero, 39, was arrested April 2 as he tried to cross into Texas from Mexico, said Romankow. Authorities believe he had been in Honduras since fleeing the country in June 2012 after an investigation determined that he had allegedly sexually assaulted a female victim first when the girl was 12 years old and then again after she turned 13. The alleged assaults took place at his home and were discovered after the victim disclosed the attacks to a family member. Police were notified and an investigation was launched. Officers found that Romero was missing when they went to make an arrest.
Detective Patricia Gusmano of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit tracked Romero to a village in Honduras and worked with the US Marshals Service to monitor his movements, which led to his arrest as he attempted to return to the country.
Romero will be extradited to New Jersey in the coming days and will be held at the Union County Jail on $1.75 million bail. He’s charged with two counts of first degree aggravated sexual assault against a minor and two counts of second degree sexual assault against a minor.
The charges against Romero are merely accusations; he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
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