TV, Internet exposure may help capture fugitive

Courtesy photo Noe Torres, 29, is wanted on charges of first-degree murder in connection with the 2005 shooting death of 10-year-old Carlos Perez.

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

Noe Torres is the second fugitive from the Ninth Judicial District to be featured by America’s Most Wanted, according to the show’s associate producer, Jena Naranjo.

And show producers are confident the exposure will result in an arrest like it did the first time.

Naranjo said America’s Most Wanted’s Web site was recently rated second among TV-based Web sites and attracts millions of visitors each month.

Torres’ profile was listed on the site Friday.

“(America’s Most Wanted) has proven to be a very powerful tool so if I were (Torres), I’d be a little concerned. We have had an excellent success rate with our stories,” Naranjo said.

“I have a pretty good feeling at some point (he’ll be caught). Clearly he’s tired of running.”

Torres, 29, is wanted on charges of first-degree murder in connection with the 2005 shooting death of a Clovis fifth-grader.

Authorities have said Torres has been spotted in New Mexico, Texas and Mexico in the nearly three years he has been on the run. Three others have been convicted of murder in the Perez case.

In June 2007, convicted sex offender Raymond Gates of Portales was arrested in Texas after he was featured on the show. Gates was declared a fugitive after he failed to register with authorities. A tip after Gate’s profile aired led to his arrest, Naranjo said.

Naranjo said the show receives thousands of letters, e-mails and phone calls a year from citizens and law enforcement seeking help with cases.

The persistence of District Attorney Matt Chandler and the tragic nature of 10-year-old Carlos Perez’ death led America’s Most Wanted to feature Torres.

“It’s just an extremely sad, tragic story. It’s sad that Carlos had to die and then that (Torres is) still out there.”

Naranjo said Torres will be listed on the Web site of America’s Most Wanted permanently, even if captured.

The case information may also be broadcast as a short segment in the future, though plans are not firm, she said.

Chandler said America’s Most Wanted was contacted Wednesday after Torres called law enforcement Tuesday and demanded the charges against him be dropped.

Chandler declined to say if any tips were received over the weekend in response to the Web story about Torres.

“America’s Most Wanted is a very productive resource for law enforcement. Their resources are proven time and time again and we hope to become one of those success stories that ends in apprehension,” he said.