A man wanted for 31 years in a deadly stabbing in Massachusetts was arrested in Guatemala, some 2,250 miles away, on Wednesday, police said.
Mario Garcia had been tracked to a shrimp farm he runs on the Pacific coast, and when U.S. authorities arrived there to take him into custody, Garcia jumped into the water at the farm in an unsuccessful attempt to get away, according to the Massachusetts State Police.
"We are glad that the victim, Ismael Recinos-Garcia, will finally have justice be brought forth for this senseless murder," Attleboro Police Chief Kyle Heagney said in a statement.
Garcia has been wanted since soon after the Nov. 16, 1991, killing of Recinos-Garcia, who was stabbed to death in a fight at Dean and Bank streets in Attleboro, police said. The two men were friends, but not related. Garcia, then 19, fled and the trail went cold.
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But in 2014, a state police fugitive-tracking team learned that Garcia may have returned to Guatemala, and he was placed on the Massachusetts State Police Most Wanted Fugitives list in 2021. Earlier this year, a trooper who'd been working the case learned that Garcia could have been working at a shrimp farm in the Guatemalan city of Iztapa, police said.
A team including the U.S. Marshals Service and investigators at the Department of State confirmed that Garcia was at the shrimp farm and living under a different name. Bristol County prosecutors received an international arrest warrant, police said, and Garcia, now 50, was taken into custody at the shrimp farm after trying to get away through the water.
Recinos-Garcia's daughter, Delia Recinos, was just 3 years old when he was stabbed to death. She remembers very little about him -- except his funeral.
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"I only have that memory of being held to see his body," Recinos told NBC10 Boston in an exclusive interview.
Still, the loss has always been with her.
"It never stops," she said. "The pain never stops."
Recinos and her family left Attleboro in 2003 and moved to Georgia.
Her father, who was 28 when he was murdered, left behind three young children.
"As a kid, I always thought maybe, one day, he'd return and everything would be a lie," she said. "And he'd just tell me that he really didn't die. But that never came true."
"We don’t forget, we are persistent, and we never cease in our efforts to secure justice for victims,” Massachusetts State Police Col. Christopher Mason said in a statement. “The fact that we were able to reach into Guatemala to hold accountable someone who committed a homicide in Massachusetts is a result of both tenacious police work and the value of our relationships with local, federal and international partners."
Garcia faces extradition to the United States, which will be arranged, police said. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney who could speak to his arrest.
"To the people who helped Mario escape, you also left us without a father," said Recinos. "You enabled this man to live free for 31 years."