Fugitive couple accused of murdering 8-year-old Tri-Cities boy caught in Mexico
March 31, 2023 Updated Fri., March 31, 2023 at 7:53 p.m.
KENNEWICK – More than a year after the body of 8-year-old Edgar Casian was found in rural Benton County, his father and the woman on the run with him have been arrested.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the U.S. Marshal’s Office announced Friday that Edgar Salvador Casian-Garcia, 34, and his girlfriend, Araceli Medina, 38, were arrested in Mexico and their five missing and endangered children had been rescued, according to a news release .
The children are back in the U.S. and in protective custody in Washington.
The U.S. Marshal’s Office said they were arrested March 22. Court filings by Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant on March 23 for Casian-Garcia and Medina began the next day to start the process of bringing them back to the Tri-Cities. Their bail is set at $5 million each.
It’s unclear when the couple will be brought back to the U.S. and to Pasco. An extradition request was filed Thursday.
“We are so thankful that all five missing children have been rescued safely,” said John Bischoff, who oversees the Missing Children Division at NCMEC. “The crimes that Araceli Medina and Edgar Casian-Garcia are charged with are heinous and we commend the unwavering dedication of law enforcement. This successful rescue is a testament to the critical importance of collaboration and community involvement in safeguarding our most vulnerable population.”
According to NMCEC, relatives said they are relieved and grateful the children were found and are asking the media to respect their privacy at this time.
In February, Casian-Garcia and Medina were placed on the FBI’s 15 Most Wanted list, with a $25,000 reward offered for their capture.
According to prosecutors, the couple abused Casian and his two young sisters by holding their heads underwater, cutting them with razor blades and pouring hot water on one of them.
They were frequently tied up and kept in the bathroom of a Pasco apartment, and in one of these instances, they allegedly killed Casian.
The couple have been on the run since June 2021 when they were charged with abandoning the two girls, 9 and 3, by the side of the road in Mexico.
Franklin County prosecutors have charged them with aggravated first-degree murder, which carries a mandatory life sentence. In addition, they say the couple showed an egregious lack of remorse, deliberate cruelty and committed the crime within sight and hearing of a child.
They also are charged with four counts of first-degree child rape and three counts of first-degree assault of a child.
Casian’s mother Maria Quintero told the Herald last June she called police and Washington state Child Protective Services several times after her ex-boyfriend took custody of their son and two daughters. According to court documents, the three children had been living with their paternal grandmother for all of their lives. Casian-Garcia and Medina took custody of them in May 2020.
The children soon stopped attending online classes. A Barbara McClintock Elementary School teacher called CPS to report she was being lied to regarding their whereabouts.
They were last seen when a Pasco police officer responded to a no-contact order violation and vandalism complaint at their Road 68 apartment. The children can be seen in the body camera footage.
Casian-Garcia reported to the school district that the children had moved to Vancouver, Washington, in September 2020, and then the next month the couple moved into a Chapel Hill Boulevard apartment.
The couple would tie up the children and leave them in bathroom. Then one time, Casian-Garcia and Medina put a surgical mask over Casian’s face while he was tied up. They allegedly laid him down in the bathtub, aimed the showerhead at his face, turned it on and left, according to court documents. His sisters were left in the bathroom at the time.
The couple returned several hours later and he was dead.
They took his body out to a field in the area of South Finley Road and Highway 397. His bones were discovered there more than a year later in early February 2022.
The couple then took the girls to Mexico in October 2020 and eventually left them. They were discovered outside a convenience store in May 2021.
According to reports at the time, the older child was in a wheelchair, unable to walk, eat or use the restroom independently.
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