Warning: This story contains graphic descriptions of child violence that may be disturbing.
Two Washington state fugitives wanted on murder and multiple child abuse charges have been arrested in Mexico, the US Marshals Service announced Friday, noting it was the first case involving a couple being placed on the agency’s Top 15 Most Wanted fugitives list.
Edgar Salvador Casian-Garcia, 34, and his girlfriend, Araceli Medina, 38, were taken into custody last week by Mexican officials, the Marshals Service said, after being charged in Franklin County, Washington, with aggravated murder, four counts of child rape, and child assault.
During the arrest, Mexican officials also recovered five of the couple’s children who had been listed as missing and endangered. The children were returned to the United States and placed in protective custody, the US Marshals said.
CNN is attempting to locate attorney information for Casian-Garcia and Medina, who remain in Mexico, pending extradition according to US investigators.
“We are so thankful that all five missing children have been rescued safely,” said John Bischoff, vice president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “The charges against Araceli Medina and Edgar Casian-Garcia are heinous and we commend the unwavering dedication of law enforcement.”
The criminal charges came after two of Casian-Garcia’s daughters, age 3 and 8, were found abandoned in Tijuana, Mexico, in late 2020.
“Both girls showed signs of severe physical and sexual abuse,” said the US Marshals. “Subsequent forensic interviews done with both girls determined that Casian-Garcia and Medina had likely been abusing and sex trafficking the children.”
According to police in Pasco, Washington, the remains of the girls’ 7-year-old brother were later discovered in early 2022 by hikers in rural Washington. Authorities said they suspect the boy was tortured to death and his body dumped.
The US Marshals said they believe Casian-Garcia and Medina fled to Mexico after learning they would be charged in the case. A reward of up to $25,000 had previously been announced by the agency for information leading to their arrest.
“The advances in technology used by law enforcement, combined with assistance from our federal partners — in this case the US Marshals — were instrumental,” Pasco Police Chief Ken Roske told CNN, adding the suspected murder and assaults have been tragic for his community. “I’m thankful the rest of the siblings have been rescued and are safe now.”