Phone of suspect in Burbank murder tracked to Mexican border
BY MIKE DEACON AND STEVE METSCH firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com May 17, 2012 11:55AM
A warrant was issued for the arrest of Arnoldo Jimenez in the murder of Estrella Carrera.
Updated: June 29, 2012 9:43AM
Authorities believe a man wanted for stabbing his new bride to death in Burbank last week fled Illinois for a Texas town near the Mexican border to avoid prosecution for first-degree murder, according to an FBI warrant issued Thursday.
More than 30 law enforcement agencies joined federal agents in the manhunt for Arnoldo Jimenez, 30, who is wanted in the murder of Estrella Carrera, 26, less than 48 hours after they were wed May 11. Carrera’s body, still clad in the silver sequined cocktail dress she wore to celebrate their wedding, was found Sunday in her bathtub.
Authorities would not confirm whether Jimenez left the country.
Burbank police, the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force and the Secret Service tracked the use of Jimenez’s cell phone Saturday through the Chicago area and into southern Illinois, near Memphis, according to the FBI. The phone was tracked to Houston on Sunday, with the last location tracked to Hidalgo, Texas — which is on the Mexican border — at 10:45 p.m. Sunday, according to the FBI. Hidalgo is nearly 1,500 miles from the Burbank residence where his wife was found.
Family members told police Jimenez spoke with his sister by phone Sunday, telling her he had a bad fight with his wife and left her bleeding, according to the FBI.
Jimenez also told another “close associate” that he was leaving Illinois, and if questioned by police, he should tell them he went to Mexico, the FBI said.
Jimenez, who was born in Texas, still owns property in Pharr, Texas, the FBI said. He also has relatives in North Carolina, and his parents live in Mexico, the FBI said.
Authorities in Texas and U.S. border officials were asked Thursday to join the hunt for Jimenez. An advisory to “be on the lookout” indicated he may have fled for Mexico, according to the sheriff in Hidalgo County.
Federal border officials from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection also said they had the advisory and a photo of Jimenez.
Police already had a first-degree murder warrant for Jimenez, who married Carrera on Friday at Chicago’s City Hall and allegedly stabbed her to death less than 48 hours later.
The warrant issued Thursday gives the FBI more power to follow tips on Jimenez’s whereabouts, Burbank police Capt. Joseph Ford said. Police and FBI officials were poring over more than 200 tips, he said.
“We are following every lead no matter where it takes us,” Ford said. “We will not stop looking, and this will not go away.”
Authorities began looking for Jimenez soon after Carrera’s family reported that she failed to pick up her two children Saturday as she had arranged. The family had been unable to reach Carrera or Jimenez, so they asked police to check on her well-being at her apartment in Burbank.
Most of Carrera’s family disapproved of her relationship with Jimenez, even though he was the father of her 2-year-old son. Jimenez had hit and bruised Carrera in the past, an older sister, Jazmin Carrera, said Wednesday.
Police are pleading with Jimenez to turn himself in.
“We’re going to follow whatever leads they’ve received,” said Joan Hyde, a special agent for the FBI’s Chicago office.
Jimenez was last known to be driving a black 2006 Maserati, an expensive car.
Police don’t know what Jimenez does for a living.
A spokesman in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chicago office said he had no information “about Mr. Jimenez being involved in narcotic trafficking,” although he had taken numerous calls about whether the DEA was involved in the search.
The victim’s sister said she is taking things “a day at a time.”
“The emotions are just on and off,” Jazmin Carrera said.
Daisy Villa-Gomez, of Chicago’s Southwest Side, used to pal around with Carrera until a few years ago.
“We used to go to her parties. She was always happy. She always liked dancing. She was a very nice person,” Villa-Gomez said Thursday. “Our families used to be closer. I don’t remember the last time I saw her. I didn’t know she died until I saw it on the news.”
Visitation for Carrera is from 3 to 9 p.m. Friday at Foran Funeral Home, 7300 W. Archer Ave. in Summit. A funeral Mass will be said at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Rita of Cascia Church, 6243 S. Fairfield Ave. in Chicago. Interment will be at St. Mary Cemetery in Evergreen Park.
Contributing: AP, Sun-Times Media