DENVER (AP/CBS4) – A suspected member of a notorious Salvadoran gang wanted for a Colorado slaying is now one of the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives.”
Edwin Ernesto Rivera Gracias was added to the list Thursday. He’s wanted in Jefferson County for the Aug. 17, 2011, stabbing death of Richard Limon, 69, of Denver, a family acquaintance of Rivera Gracias’ girlfriend. Limon’s body was found alongside a road on Lookout Mountain just west of Golden.
Three other suspects already have pleaded guilty to taking part in the killing, including a man authorities said held Limon’s legs while Rivera Gracias wrapped duct tape around Limon’s head to try to suffocate him. When that didn’t work, Rivera Gracias stabbed Limon nine times with a steak knife, which broke when it punctured his heart, authorities said.
“The blade of the knife is left in Mr. Limon’s body. Horrific, brutal, heinous murder,” said Jefferson County District Attorney Peter Weir. “An extraordinarily dangerous individual. Justice will be done. … We’re confident that he is going to be apprehended.”
According to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court, Rivera Gracias talked about killing Limon over allegations he molested Rivera Gracias’ girlfriend, who was the daughter of Limon’s wife. Jefferson County District Attorney spokeswoman Pam Russell said those allegations were never reported to authorities.
Rivera Gracias is suspected of being a member of the Mara Salvatrucha gang, or MS-13, with ties to other gang members in Colorado, Los Angeles and El Salvador. He is believed to be hiding in El Salvador. Members of the gang, who cover themselves in tattoos, have been linked by authorities to drug trafficking, drive-by shootings and contract killings.
The FBI is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to Rivera Gracias’ arrest. FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge James Yacone said anyone spotting Rivera Gracias should contact authorities and not try to apprehend him.
“We stand together, every one of us, at every level of law enforcement here in Colorado and also nationally, to urge the public: If you see Rivera Gracias or if you have information about Mr. Rivera Gracias to please contact the FBI or local law enforcement if you actually see him physically,” U.S. Attorney John Walsh said.
“Without their assistance, without their cooperation and without their energy, we would not have any hope at all of bringing this individual back into this country to face this murder charge,” said Jefferson County Sheriff Ted Mink of the FBI’s placement of Rivera Gracias on the list.
The three suspects who have pleaded guilty in the case: Raul Nunez-Soto, 48, second-degree murder, sentenced in October to 48 years in prison; Rivera Gracias’ girlfriend, Nena Moya, 28, accessory to commit murder, sentenced to two years in prison; and Limon’s wife, whom he sometimes referred to as his daughter, Tina Moya, 40, second-degree murder. She will be sentenced Wednesday.
The vacancy on the list was created when Joe Luis Saenz, a murder suspect, was captured in November.
The last fugitive from Colorado to make the 10 Most Wanted list was serial killer Ted Bundy in 1978. Bundy was captured five days after being placed on the list.
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