Cold case

Pinal County deputies make an arrest in a 15-year-old cold case murder.

FLORENCE — Pinal County Sheriff’s deputies have arrested a suspect in a 15-year-old homicide.

With the help of the U.S. Marshals Service and Interpol, Oscar Tejeda-Mejia, 59, was arrested in Mexico and extradited to the U.S. as a suspect in the 2007 death of Arturo Martinez-Altamirano, 37, according to PCSO officials.

Pinal County Sheriff's detectives have made an arrest in the 2007 murder case. Oscar Tejeda-Mejia, 59, was arrested in Mexico and extradited to the U.S. with the help of the U.S. Marshals Service and Interpol on suspicion of first degree murder in the 2007 death of 37-year-old Arturo Martinez.

On Oct. 29, 2007, deputies were called to a desert area near West Groves Road in Stanfield after Martinez-Altamirano’s body was found by hunters. Tejeda-Mejia was identified as a suspect in the murder, but law enforcement officers were unable to find him and the case went cold.

In 2017, PCSO detectives reopened the case and learned that Tejeda-Mejia was living in Mexico. In 2018, detectives acquired a DNA sample allegedly confirming that Tejeda-Mejia was connected to the homicide.

Tejeda-Mejia was extradited to the U.S. on Jan. 12 and booked into the Pinal County jail on suspicion of first-degree murder.

“I am impressed by my detectives and their commitment to bringing this suspect to justice. When political boundaries threatened to derail their progress, our guys and gals got creative,” said Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb. “It is our job to make sure violent criminals are not permitted to live freely while their victims’ families suffer. We are hopeful this will bring some peace to those who have waited so long for closure.”

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Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa is a reporter covering the city of Casa Grande and the surrounding area, as well as Central Arizona College. She can be reached at sadams@pinalcentral.com.

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