Husband arrested in Costa Rica in connection with wife’s death after more than 30 years on the run, police say

Photo of Jose Lazaro Cruz who's been on the run for 30+ years.

Authorities say Jose Lazaro Cruz has been on the run for more than 30 years after being wanted in connection with the killing of his wife.Fairfax County Police DepartmentCNN — 

A man wanted in connection with the 1991 killing of his wife was extradited earlier this month from Costa Rica, putting an end to his more than three decades on the run, officials said in a news conference Monday.

Jose Lazaro Cruz was arrested in Costa Rica in 2022 and brought back to Fairfax County, Virginia, earlier this month to face trial in the 32-year-old murder case, police said.

It is unclear if Lazaro Cruz has an attorney. CNN reached out to the Commonwealth Attorney for Fairfax County and the Fairfax County Public Defender Office for information about his legal representation.

On April 30, 1991, Fairfax County police officers responded to a call of a stabbing and found Ana Jurado, 24, dead in the street from trauma to her upper body, according to Eli Cory, Fairfax County’s deputy chief of investigation.

Lazaro Cruz was Jurado’s then-estranged husband and was identified as the alleged killer by police, but he fled, according to Cory. First, Lazaro Cruz tried going to Canada but was refused entry due to using falsified documentation, Cory said, adding border agents said they noticed what appeared to be a “fresh cut” on his hand at the time.

After being unable to get into Canada, Lazaro Cruz evaded authorities by traveling to Houston, Texas, and is believed to have used a smuggler to get out of the country, eventually going to El Salvador, according to Cory.

Cory said at the time, El Salvador did not have any mechanisms or policies in place to extradite him to the United States. The country eventually amended its constitution in 2000, allowing for the extradition of Salvadoran nationals.

Jurado was the mother of three young children. Her 3-year-old and 7-month-old daughters lived with her in the US and her 4-year-old son lived in El Salvador at the time of her death.

While official charges are still being sorted, Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said this case is not a “traditional cold case” because Lazaro Cruz was identified right away, he was just “on the lam.”

On July 29, 2022, Lazaro Cruz was arrested while trying to enter Costa Rica, according to Cory.

Lazaro Cruz remarried and had several children since the 1991 killing and “definitely started a whole new life in El Salvador,” according to Cory.

He is currently in the Fairfax County Correctional Center awaiting trial.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *