By Leslie Holland
(CNN) — Over five years after Lucy Preciado was stabbed to death with a sword in front of her four children, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has their primary suspect, Preciado’s former boyfriend, in custody.
Jesus Humberto Canales, an El Salvadoran national who goes by the nickname “Chuey,” is in the Los Angeles County Jail following his arrest in Mexico on Thursday, said Jeff Leslie, a sheriff’s department homicide detective.
Preciado, 26, was stabbed with a sword in her Lancaster, California, home on July 12, 2008. All of her children witnessed the stabbing. Her daughter, who was 9 years old at the time, called 911.
In the days immediately following Preciado’s killing, Canales fled to Pomona, California, before going to Las Cruces, New Mexico, Leslie said. He said the investigation led him to Las Cruces, where he missed Canales by a mere four hours; Canales had crossed the border into Mexico.
In the years since, the case was featured at least twice on the television show “America’s Most Wanted,” which led to hundreds of tips, Leslie said.
Leslie said he and his partner, Detective Sgt. Kevin Lloyd, got a lead that seemed promising and were able to work with Mexican authorities, and also the U.S. Marshals Service, to locate Canales.
Marshals arrested Canales Thursday in a small town outside of Jalisco, Mexico, Leslie said. He added that Canales had been living there with a woman and her four children since four days after Lucy Preciado was killed.
Mexican authorities expelled Canales from that country and he was flown back to the United States, where LASD partners Leslie and Lloyd took custody of Canales at Los Angeles International Airport.
“After 5½ years it was a really satisfying feeling to put him into the back of a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department radio car,” Leslie said.
Canales was arrested on the warrant, issued six days after the killing, and is being held on one felony charge of murder and four felony charges of child endangerment.
Bail for Canales has been set at $1.4 million. He is scheduled to be arraigned in L.A. County Court on Monday.
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