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FBI agents bring murder suspect Martinez back to Denton

FBI agents on Thursday returned Ricardo Alfonso Lara Martinez, the suspect in a December 2014 killing at an insurance and tax service on McKinney Street, to Denton after he had been in custody in Mexico. 

Ricardo MartinezCourtesy photo
Ricardo Martinez
Courtesy photo

Martinez is charged with the murder of his 5-year-old son's mother, Maria Isabel Romero Medina, who was found dead Dec. 13, 2014, at Sanchez Insurance and Tax Services, 1111 E. McKinney St. 

Police in an arrest affidavit said Medina died on Dec. 12 as a result of a deliberate assault. Police said she suffered numerous injuries, including a fractured skull. The cause of death included strangulation, the document said. 

At the time, Romero had been seeking full custody of the boy, who had been a point of contention between the couple, the affidavit said. 

"The manner in which the victim was murdered is indicative of a direct reaction to a strong emotional response, frequently seen in and known to happen in child custody cases," according to the affidavit. 

Maria Isabel Romero-Medina is shown with her son, Alek Lara.Courtesy photo
Maria Isabel Romero-Medina is shown with her son, Alek Lara.
Courtesy photo

Martinez fled to Mexico with his son shortly after police found Medina's badly beaten body in her Denton office, authorities said. 

After an Amber Alert had been issued for the boy, a man came forward to Denton police and said he had driven Martinez and his son to Mexico, according to earlier reports in the Denton Record-Chronicle. 

Investigators  obtained an arrest warrant for a murder charge as the search for Martinez continued. And in early 2015, a Denton County grand jury indicted Martinez on the charge.  Police eventually found him with his son in Mexico in February 2016, where Martinez had remained in Mexican custody until Thursday. 

The boy returned to Denton in good health when police found Martinez. He is now staying with other family members. 

In October, a Mexican judge granted Martinez' extradition to the U.S., and First Assistant District Attorney Jamie Beck previously said he will be tried like any other case. 

Denton police investigators took custody of Martinez at DFW International Airport on Thursday and drove him to Denton City Jail, where he was awaiting arraignment on the murder charge later in the evening, police said. 

Denton police Sgt. Brad Curtis and Sgt. Keith Martin investigated the case with help from Denton County Friends of the Family and the FBI. Assistant District Attorneys Michael Graves and Lindsey Sheguit will be leading Martinez' prosecution, according to the Denton County District Attorney's Office. 

JULIAN GILL can be reached at 940-566-6882.