Man Charged with the 2012 Murder and Rape of His Disabled Neighbor While Burglarizing Her Norwalk Home Extradited from Guatemala
A former Norwalk man suspected by detectives with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department of raping and murdering his disabled neighbor was extradited from Guatemala and returned to Los Angeles today, announced David Bowdich, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, and Sheriff Jim McDonnell of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD).
Luis Fernando Diofron Lemus, 22, a former resident of Norwalk and Guatemalan national, was arrested by police in Guatemala in December 2014 following a joint investigation by detectives with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the FBI’s Fugitive Task Force in Los Angeles, and the FBI’s Transnational Anti-Gang Task Force (TAG) in Guatemala. Guatemalan police arrested Diofron in San Miguel, Escuintla, Guatemala. He was subsequently transferred to Guatemala City and held by authorities there during extradition proceedings.
According to a federal criminal complaint filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles, detectives with the LASD responded to the Norwalk home of Denise Battey, 51, on August 10, 2012, and determined that she had been sexually assaulted and murdered during the commission of a burglary. LASD detectives identified Diofron as the suspect and determined that he initially fled to Tijuana, Mexico, where he had resided prior to emigrating to the United States.
On September 18, 2012, LASD detectives obtained a no-bail arrest warrant for Diofron after he was charged by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office (LACDA) with Battey’s murder, to include the special circumstances of rape and burglary. When detectives determined that Diofron had fled the country, the FBI’s Fugitive Task Force in Los Angeles was asked to assist in locating and returning him to the United States for prosecution by the LACDA.
On December 2, 2013, a provisional arrest warrant for Diofron’s arrest had been issued in Guatemala, where he was believed to be residing at the time. On August 13, 2014, Diofron was charged in the federal criminal complaint with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution (UFAP). Diofron’s specific location in Guatemala was unknown until TAG investigators developed a lead that was generated when his photograph was featured by a local media outlet.
After he was subsequently located in Guatemala, the United States requested his provisional arrest and extradition. Diofron was provisionally arrested in Guatemala in December 2014, and Guatemala surrendered him for extradition on April 10, 2015.
Diofron was turned over the custody of LASD detectives this evening after landing at Los Angeles International Airport. The government is expected to dismiss the federal warrant charging Diofron with UFAP and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office will prosecute the state charges.
The TAG in Guatemala is assigned to the FBI’s Legal Attaché in San Salvador and is composed of FBI agents and police officers with the Guatemala National Civil Police. The FBI’s Fugitive Task Force in Los Angeles is composed of agents and officers with the FBI; the Los Angeles Police Department; the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department; and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Parole Division detectives with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department continue to investigate the murder and rape.
Diofron’s extradition was handled by attorneys with the Office of International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
The FBI continues to work with local law enforcement to apprehend violent criminals charged with state crimes who then flee the jurisdiction interstate or internationally. Photos and descriptions of many fugitives wanted by the FBI can be found at www.fbi.gov.
- Los Angeles FBI: 310-996-3343
- Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office: 213-974-3525
- Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department: 323-267-4800