Claudio Gutierrez-Cruz is wanted for his alleged involvement in the murder
of 44-year-old Francisco Lopez-Bautista. On June 14, 2005, Lopez-Bautista
was shot while raking and collecting pine straw on the Fort Bragg, North
Carolina military reservation. The suspect and his girlfriend own rights
to collect the pine straw on the tract of land from which the victim was
allegedly poaching. Collecting and selling pine straw is a thriving enterprise
that yields a significant income for many collectors. Due to the demanding
market and the price of pine straw, poaching has become lucrative.
Gutierrez-Cruz was charged federally with the unlawful killing of Francisco
Lopez-Bautista with malice aforethought within the special maritime and
territorial jurisdiction of the United States, namely Fort Bragg, North
Carolina, by the use of a shotgun and perpetrated from a premeditated
design constituting murder in the first degree. On June 22, 2005, a federal
warrant was issued by the United States District Court, Middle District
of North Carolina, for Gutierrez-Cruz's arrest.
Gutierrez-Cruz was believed to be living on a ranch/farm in the Bella Vista Del Rio area of Cadereyta, Queretaro, Mexico, with his wife and three children. He grew up in this area and is reportedly one of the wealthier citizens in the area. He and his family may have fled from this area recently, and gone to Mexico City, Mexico, where he has ties. Gutierrez-Cruz may be driving a newer model, maroon pick-up truck.