SALEM, Ore. (AP) - A Mexican man accused of killing a deputy sheriff and one of his own passengers in a car crash a decade ago is being sought by the Oregon State Police, the FBI, Interpol and Mexican prosecutors after he was mistakenly released from a Mexican prison.
The Marion County District Attorney's Office said in a statement, issued Friday in both English and Spanish, that Alfredo De Jesus Ascencio was freed due to an administrative error from prison in the Mexican state of Baja California in February.
The development was not announced earlier while authorities tried to find De Jesus Ascencio. The announcement said there's a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to his arrest.
Authorities say Deputy Kelly Fredinburg was killed June 16, 2007 when his patrol car was struck near Gervais by De Jesus Ascencio's vehicle.
The full statement:
On February 21, 2017, the FBI notified the Oregon State Police and the Marion County District Attorney's Office that Alfredo De Jesus Ascencio had been released from a Mexican federal prison due to an administrative error.
Alfredo De Jesus Ascencio had been arrested approximately one month before, after a near decade long hunt for him which began in the summer of 2007 for causing the death of Marion County Deputy Sheriff Kelly Fredinburg and Oscar Ascencio Amaya.
On June 16, 2007, Deputy Fredinburg was en route to an emergency call heading southbound on Highway 99E north of Gervais when his patrol vehicle was struck head-on by a vehicle driven by De Jesus Ascencio. Deputy Fredinburg's patrol car caught fire and he died at the scene.
Oscar Ascencio Amaya, a 19 year old passenger in De Jesus Ascencio's vehicle, also died as a result of the crash.
Following an investigation by the Oregon State Police the case was presented to a Marion County Grand Jury and on August 3, 2007, Alfredo De Jesus Ascencio was indicted for two counts of Criminally Negligent Homicide. De Jesus Ascencio, however, fled to Mexico prior to being arraigned on the charges.
In 2010 the Marion County District Attorney's Office successfully filed an Article IV prosecution which allows certain crimes committed in the U.S. to be prosecuted by the Mexican Judicial System. Pursuant to the Article IV prosecution, De Jesus Ascencio was adjudicated in absentia. A Mexican arrest warrant was issued for De Jesus Ascencio for causing the deaths of Deputy Fredinburg and Oscar Ascencio Amaya.
After nearly seven years, on January 20, 2017, De Jesus Ascencio was arrested on that warrant in the Mexican State of Puebla. He was transported to the Mexican State of Baja California, where he was released approximately one month later, in February of 2017.
Since learning of De Jesus Ascencio's release the Oregon State Police and the Marion County District Attorney's Office have been working jointly with the FBI, the U.S. Embassy, Interpol, and the Mexican Attorney General's Office in a consolidated effort to locate Alfredo De Jesus Ascencio and bring him to justice. To date, those efforts have not been successful and he remains at large.
Although the victims' families have been informed throughout the process, this information has not been made public until now due to ongoing attempts to locate
De Jesus Ascencio.
The warrant for Alfredo De Jesus Ascencio is still active and law enforcement continues to search for him. As Marion County District Attorney, Walt Beglau said, "It's important for the community to know that we will not let up despite the passage of time. We remain fully committed to seeking justice for the victims and their families."
To assist that effort law enforcement is asking for the help of anyone who may have information regarding the whereabouts of Alfredo De Jesus Ascencio.
The Fredinburg family has worked closely with law enforcement officials to establish the "Oregon Officer Reward Fund" (OORF), available to help law enforcement arrest persons wanted in connection with criminal investigations where Oregon police officers are injured or killed in the line of duty. As a result, a reward of up to $20,000 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of De Jesus Ascencio.
Additionally, there is a GoFundMe account available for those who are interested in donating to the reward fund at: https://www.gofundme.com-oregon-officer-reward-fund.
"Our hope is that this reward will encourage someone to help us locate De Jesus Ascencio, that's what matters most at this point," said D.A. Beglau.
Anyone with information about Alfredo De Jesus Ascencio can report tips by phone at:
In Oregon, call 800-452-7888.
From anywhere in the United States for English and Spanish speakers to the Crime Stoppers Tip Line, refer to case #07-28, (bilingual call takers), call 1-503-823-HELP (4357).
Residents within Mexico can call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line, refer to case #07-28, (bilingual call takers) at +011-503-823-4357.
Email tips can be sent to crimetips2OSP@state.or.us.
Tips should have as much detail as possible. Though tips may be received anonymously, those providing tips are encouraged to give contact information for follow-up by the investigator(s), if needed.