3 men arrested in Nogales in Brenda Arenas 2009 murder

3 men arrested in Nogales in Brenda Arenas 2009 murder

CREATED Jun 30, 2011

Nearly two years after the brutal murder of Brenda Arenas, 15, three men are now in custody.

Reporter: Tammy Vo
Web producer: Sheryl Kornman

NOGALES and TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said three Mexican men turned themselves in to authorities Saturday in Nogales in the 2009 killing of 15-year-old Tucsonan Brenda Arenas.

They told officers they knew there was a warrant for their arrest.

Orel Vasquez, 20, Christian Vasquez, 26 and Juan Carlos Leon, 29 did not have documents to allow them to enter the United States legally.

Officers ran their names through a national crime database and discovered all three men were wanted for the murder of Arenas in Tucson.

In a media release, Tucson police said the men are citizens of Mexico. They were booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail, awaiting extradition to Tucson sometime next week.

They each are charged with one count of homicide and one count of being a fugitive from justice.

The unsolved murder was featured on the website for the national TV show "America's Most Wanted," and also on a Spanish language program called "Persiguiendo Injusticias" seen on the Telemundo television network.

Arenas was killed while seated in the front passenger seat of a sedan, as the vehicle drove by a Tucson residence that had just been invaded by "at least six Hispanic males armed with weapons," Tucson police said in 2009.

The men had entered a residence in the 6100 block of South Southland Boulevard "demanding drugs and money," police said.

"The armed intruders left the residence and confronted Miss Arenas, who was driving by with her family. A shot was fired into the vehicle fatally striking Ms. Arenas," police said.

They said there was no evidence anyone in the home was involved in illegal activity.

The U.S. Marshals Service and authorities in Mexico had been working with Tucson authorities to find the men, whom Tucson police homicide detectives said were likely hiding in Mexico.

Police detectives are still trying to identify the other suspects in the homicide, police said Saturday.

Arenas was killed 10 days before her Quinceanera.

Tucson police said the men tried to carjack the Arenas as they fled the South Side home. The fired into the vehicle, killing the teen. The Arenas drove to a nearby Circle K, where someone called police to report a shooting victim. Arenas was taken to a hospital, where she died less than an hour after she was shot.

The manhunt for the suspects moved to the tiny Mexican town of Magdelena de Kino, in Sonora, where police believe the three suspects had fled. 

Many months passed and there was no sign of the men.

Federal officials said they don't know why the men turned themselves at the border crossing  Saturday morning at 1:40 p.m.