SANTA FE – Today, Governor Susana Martinez and District Attorney Matt Chandler stood with the family of murdered 10-year old Carlos Perez to announce that fugitive murder suspect Noe Torres has been arrested in Chihuahua, Mexico and is awaiting extradition. Torres is wanted for the September 15, 2005 murder of Perez in Clovis, New Mexico. He has been on the run since Perez was shot while sleeping in the middle of the night, believed to have been hiding out in a Mexican religious compound.
On January 18th, Torres wrote a letter to Governor Martinez requesting that she provide assistance in dropping the murder charges against him. The next day, Martinez met with District Attorney Chandler, who provided her with information about where authorities believed Torres to be located in Mexico, as well as details about previous activity in the case. Later that evening, Martinez met with Chihuahua Governor Cesar Duarte prior to an economic development summit that was held in Pojoaque and provided him with all relevant details on the case – including the address at which Torres was believed to be hiding, photos of the hideout, and his mug shot. She asked Governor Duarte to provide the information to Mexican law enforcement officials and for his help in securing the arrest of the suspected killer.
After more than six years of evading capture, while law enforcement officials at the state and federal level worked to keep the case alive and bring Torres to justice, Torres was arrested in Chihuahua, Mexico on January 25th at approximately 2:00 PM.
"I want to thank Governor Duarte and Mexican law enforcement agents for helping to capture this suspected child-killer so that he can face the justice he deserves. We have worked to build a strong relationship with our neighbors in Mexico that is not only helping to create jobs along the border, but is also capable of promoting public safety and cooperation on both sides," said Martinez. "This is a tragic case of a peaceful child killed in his sleep and a family that continues to grieve his loss. Collectively, we have worked together to send a loud message that our families deserve to be safe and those who terrorize them will face stiff punishment."
Martinez also praised the United States Marshal's office and New Mexico U.S. Marshal Conrad Candelaria for all the work the Marshal's office did to make this arrest possible.
Torres has been featured on "America's Most Wanted," and his accomplice in the crime, Edward Salas, is on the U.S. Marshal's 15 Most Wanted List. Salas was convicted of first degree murder, among other crimes, and is currently on the run after escaping with seven other prisoners from the Curry County Detention Center while awaiting transport to the state penitentiary. Of the eight prisoners who escaped, only Salas remains at large as he attempts to outrun his 56-year prison sentence.
In addition to Edward Salas and Noe Torres, Orlando Salas pled guilty as a serious youthful offender to accessory to first degree murder, tampering with evidence, and conspiracy to commit first degree murder. Demetrio Salas was convicted of first degree murder, shooting at a dwelling, tampering with evidence, and intimidation of a witness. David Griego was convicted of second degree murder.
"It's been over six years since Carlos was murdered and his family has suffered tremendously as they wait for justice in this matter and the prosecution of the final alleged murderer. We are grateful that within six days of Governor Martinez's meeting with Governor Duarte, Noe Torres is in custody and will be held accountable for his actions," said 9th Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler, who frequently received taunting phone calls from Torres over the past few years. "Each time I spoke with him, I told him that we would never forget what happened to Carlos and that we were confident he would be found and brought to justice."
Torres, who calls himself "Lil Loco," is currently in jail awaiting extradition from Mexico.