A man suspected of killing a Marion County deputy in 2007 is at large again after he was mistakenly released from a Mexican federal jail.
The Marion County District Attorney's Office announced Friday that Alfredo de Jesus Ascencio, 29, had been released due to an administrative error.
De Jesus Ascencio was wanted for almost 10 years for allegedly causing the death of Marion County Deputy Sheriff Kelly Fredinburg, 33, and Oscar Ascencio Amaya, 19.
On June 16, 2007, Fredinburg was driving on Highway 99E north of Gervais to an emergency call when his patrol vehicle was struck head-on by a vehicle driven by De Jesus Ascencio. Fredinburg's patrol car caught fire, and he died at the scene.
Amaya, De Jesus Ascencio's passenger, also died in the crash.
By the time De Jesus Ascencio was indicted on two counts of criminally negligent homicide, he had already fled to Mexico to avoid prosecution.
Limitations in the extradition treaty prevented De Jesus Ascencio from being returned to the United States, but in 2011, the district attorney's office sought an Article 4 prosecution to allow the Mexican judicial system to prosecute him instead.
A Mexican arrest warrant was issued for De Jesus Ascencio for causing the deaths of Fredinburg and Amaya.
After a decade-long manhunt, De Jesus Ascencio was arrested in the Mexican State of Puebla in January.
He was transported to the Mexican State of Baja California, where he was mistakenly released one month later.
The Oregon State Police and district attorney's office were notified of De Jesus Ascencio's release on Feb. 21.
Since learning of the release, 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 joint effort to locate Alfredo De Jesus Ascencio and bring him to justice, officials said.
Those efforts have unsuccessful, and he remains at large.
Although the victims' families have been informed throughout the process, this information had not been made public until now due to ongoing attempts to locate De Jesus Ascencio, according to district attorney's officials.
Marion County District Attorney Walt Beglau said De Jesus Ascencio's warrant remains active and law enforcement continues to search for him.
"It's important for the community to know that we will not let up despite the passage of time," Beglau said. "We remain fully committed to seeking justice for the victims and their families."
Officials are asking for the help of anyone who may have information regarding the whereabouts of De Jesus Ascencio.
Since Fredinburg's death, his family has worked with law enforcement officials to establish the Oregon Officer Reward Fund. The fund is available to help law enforcement arrest those 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 De Jesus Ascencio's arrest.
A GoFundMe account is also available for those who are interested in donating to the 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," Beglau said.
Anyone with information about De Jesus Ascencio can report tips by:
- Calling 800-452-7888 in Oregon
- Calling the bilingual Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 1-503-823-HELP (4357) from anywhere in the United States and referring to case #07-28
- Calling the bilingual Crime Stoppers Tip Line from Mexico at +011-503-823-4357 and referring to case #07-28
- Emailing tips to crimetips2OSP@state.or.us.
Tips should provide as much detail as possible. Tips can be given anonymously, but those providing tips are encouraged to give contact information in case investigators need to follow-up.
For questions, comments and news tips, email reporter Whitney Woodworth at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 503-399-6884 or follow on Twitter @wmwoodworth