2006 murder suspect on the run in Mexico arrested
POSTED: Thursday, June 26, 2014 - 10:30pm
UPDATED: Friday, June 27, 2014 - 11:47am
EL PASO (KTSM) — The main suspect in the brutal murder of an El Paso woman is finally behind bars tonight after being on the run in Mexico for nearly a decade.
Officials from the United States and Mexico worked together to make the arrest.
It was a crime that tore a family apart.
Thirty year old Emely Howard-Ianni was a mother of three young children and, according to family, was living a happy life.
"If she met you and didn't know you, she greeted you like a longtime friend," said her father, David Ianni.
But in November of 2006 -- that all changed. Howard-Ianni’s body was found in Chaparral, police say she was beaten to death.
Officials said they have always known who killed Emely, but they just couldn't find him.
That was until 2012, when they learned Eduardo Duran Estrada, their main suspect, may be hiding south of the border.
"He had fled form justice and we believed he was in Mexico," said Unites States Marshal, Robert Almonte.
They were right.
On Wednesday, Mexican authorities arrested Estrada in Baja California, Mexico.
When Marshal Almonet found out, he called Howard-Ianni’s father, David Lanni, who was his old partner when they worked together for the El Paso Police Department.
"I called him, and he answered the phone. I told him, we got him," said Almonte.
A call that filled an almost decade old hole in the Howard-Ianni family's search for justice.
"It’s a big load off my families shoulder,” said Lanni. “I know we still have a long way to go in the judicial process, but it's a huge step."
On Thursday, he praised the law enforcement.
"It is amazing to me that they stuck with it and that they were able to find someone in another country, along with the cooperation of the Mexican government,” said Lanni.
Now that Estrada is in custody in Mexico, the process of being extradited back to the United States begins.
"We are going to do whatever it takes to build an appropriate case with the appropriate evidence and do the best we can to bring this defendant to justice," said Dona Ana District Attorney Mark D’Antonio.
Until then, David Lanni still finds strength -- looking at photos of his daughter.
"If you look at her picture, she is always smiling,” he said.
Marshal Almonte said there is no time frame for Estrada's return to the United States.
Howard-lanni's son is celebrating his 18th birthday Friday. On his Facebook he posted this was the best early birthday gift he could have asked for.