Murder Suspect Captured After 10 Years as Fugitive
Claduio Gutierrez-Cruz was taken into federal custody in Mexico City, Mexico, on November 12, 2015 by the Charlotte Division of the FBI. Gutierrez-Cruz was a fugitive for more than 10 years, wanted in connection with the murder of Francisco Lopez-Bautista on Fort Bragg, North Carolina on June 14, 2005. Gutierrez-Cruz is accused of shooting Lopez-Bautista because he was raking and collecting pine straw in an area in which Gutierrez-Cruz had collection rights.
Gutierrez-Cruz was taken into custody in Hidalgo, Mexico, on April 23, 2015 by Interpol Mexico agents. Gutierrez-Cruz was detained and transported to a prison facility in Mexico City, where he was housed until he was extradited to the United States today. He was charged with murder in violation of Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1111 on July 25, 2005. Gutierrez-Cruz is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office, Middle District of North Carolina and will be held in the Durham County Detention Center. The charge contained in the arrest warrant is an allegation. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The joint investigation by the FBI and United States Army Criminal Investigation Division is ongoing.