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A California mom who went on the run nearly seven years ago after authorities say she fatally shot her husband has been arrested in Mexico.
Leticia Smith, 40, is currently being held at the West Valley Detention Center on a $2 million bond after investigators relaunched the investigation into the death of her husband, Antoine Smith, late last year and discovered her living in Rosarita, Mexico, according to a statement from the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Office.
Leticia is suspected of killing her Smith, 35, at the couple’s Victorville home in 2015.
The sheriff’s office received multiple calls on May 10, 2015 from those concerned that they hadn’t heard from Antoine in several days. His friends and coworkers also reported receiving text messages from his phone that didn’t seem like his “messaging style,” authorities said.
The next day, a missing person’s report was filed with the Victorville Sheriff’s Station.
On May 12, 2015, deputies went to the family’s home to conduct a welfare check and discovered Antoine dead inside the home. He had been shot “multiple” times.
Investigators identified his wife, Leticia, as the suspect in the slaying, but they were unable to find her and discovered “evidence” that she had fled to Mexico with the couple’s two children, who were 8- and 4-years-old at the time.
Shortly after she disappeared, Leticia’s mother—who asked not to be identified—told local station KNBC that her daughter had told her she had felt trapped in the marriage. She described Antoine’s death as a tragedy, but said she felt it had been the result of an unhappy marriage.
The couple’s neighbor Stacee Harold also reported the couple arguing shortly before the murder.
“My heart almost stopped (when I discovered he was dead),” she told the outlet. “Because they haven’t seen him and the last time I saw him it was a fight. … I could be the last one to see this person if anything has happened to him.”
Another neighbor told KNBC he heard a loud noise coming from the couple’s house before the body was discovered.
“We heard like a shotgun blast go off,” Osvaldo Macias said.
For years, Leticia, who has dual citizenship in Mexico and the United States, remained on the run.
In December of 2021, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office cold case homicide team reopened the investigation and began working with Mexican authorities. They discovered Smith living in Rosarita, Mexico and had her arrested on an extraditable warrant for the murder.
Leticia was taken into custody without incident and investigators said her children were also found safe.
She was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Service on March 4, and was later transported to the West Valley Detention Center, where she’s currently being held.
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