Man charged with killing his wife in 1991 in Virginia brought back to US to face charges

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — A man who fled the country after he was charged with the slaying of his wife more than 30 years ago in northern Virginia has been returned to the U.S. to face murder charges, police said Monday.

At a press conference Monday, Fairfax County Police officers said that Jose Lazaro Cruz was charged with the fatal stabbing of his wife, Ana Jurado, 24, in 1991 in West Falls Church.

But police said Lazaro Cruz, who was then 24 years old, fled the country through the southern border with the help of a smuggler, and established himself in El Salvador. At the time, El Salvador had no provisions to extradite suspects sought by the U.S.

Lazaro Cruz was arrested in 2022 when he tried to enter Costa Rica. After a lengthy extradition process, he was brought back to the U.S. and is being held at the Fairfax County jail while he awaits trial.

Police said that detectives worked the case for years, traveling to El Salvador in the 1990s to gather information that eventually helped secure his arrest.

“He avoided accountability for something he did nearly 33 years ago,” Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said. “We've never forgotten the family. We’ve never forgotten the seriousness of this crime.”