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Massachusetts Murder Suspect Captured At Guatemalan Shrimp Farm After 31 Years On The Run

Mario R. Garcia was taken into custody in Guatemala earlier this week for the 1991 murder of Isamael Recinos-Garcia.

By Jill Sederstrom
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More than 30 years after authorities say one man fatally stabbed another during a fight on the streets of Attleboro, Massachusetts — which is just outside Providence, Rhode Island — he was tracked to a Guatemalan shrimp farm where he had been working under an alias.

Mario R. Garcia, 50, was taken into custody Wednesday after attempting to evade capture by jumping into a body of water at the shrimp farm, according to a statement from the Massachusetts State Police.

“We don’t forget, we are persistent and we never cease in our efforts to secure justice for victims,” Massachusetts State Police Colonel Christopher S. Mason said. “The fact that we were able to reach into Guatemala to hold accountable someone who committed a homicide in Massachusetts is a result of both tenacious police work and the value of our relationships with local, federal and international partners.”

The arrest ends a decades-long search for Garcia, who is suspected of stabbing Isamael Recinos-Garcia in 1991.

A police handout of Mario R. Garcia

According to the Massachusetts State Police, Attleboro Police were called to the intersection of Dean Street and Bank Street on Nov. 16, 1991 after receiving reports of a fight in progress. They arrived to find Recinos-Garcia “unconscious” and suffering from apparent stab wounds.

He was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The victim’s daughter, Delia Hernandez, told The Sun Chronicle that the two men had been acquaintances because they worked together at a jewelry factory and both had ties to Guatemala. They had both been drinking at a bar before the fight broke out.

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Garcia — who was 19 years-old at the time — was quickly identified as the suspected assailant but he immediately fled and couldn’t be found “despite extensive efforts” by law enforcement authorities.

Trooper Curtis Cinelli began to work the case in 2014 while working on the State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension unit. He determined that Garcia had likely fled to his home country of Guatemala and was living in a “remote area.”

In March 2021, Garcia was added to the state police’s Most Wanted Fugitive List.

Cinelli continued to work the case as a detective lieutenant, despite being transferred into a state police protection unit tasked with protecting Gov. Charlie Baker, The Sun Chronicle reports.

In early 2022, Cincelli received a tip that Garcia might be working at a shrimp farm in Iztapa, Guatemala and passed the lead to the U.S. Marshals Service.

After a team comprised of members of the U.S. Marshals Service Office of International Affairs, the Operations for Central America and the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service Overseas Criminal Investigation Unit in Guatemala confirmed Garcia was at the farm, authorities secured a warrant and took him into custody Wednesday.

“The U.S. Marshals Service specializes in tracking down fugitives around the country and around the world," Brian Kyes, a U.S. Marshal for the District of Massachusetts, said in the statement released by police. “Along with our state and local domestic partners, and our international liaisons, we were able to locate and capture this violent fugitive."

Garcia is currently awaiting extradition back to the United States.

“We are glad that the victim, Ismael Recinos-Garcia, will finally have justice be brought forth for this senseless murder,” Attleboro Police Chief Kyle P. Heagney said.

For Hernandez, who was only three when her father was stabbed to death, the arrest has brought some measure of closure.

“It is so rare to arrest someone after 31 years,” she said. “We never thought this day would come.”

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