By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
A man who allegedly took an 11-year-old Keizer girl to Mexico in the spring of 2007 has been extradited to Oregon to face criminal prosecution from the Marion County District Attorney’s office.
Raul Xalamihua-Espindola, now 28, was escorted Dec. 15 by two special agents from the Portland office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from Mexico City to Portland, where custody was transferred to members of the Keizer Police Department who were awaiting his arrival.
Xalamihua-Espindola was arrested on an outstanding felony warrant issued in April 2007 for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution and for one count of custodial interference in the first degree. Another warrant was issued in December 2007 for four counts of first degree rape.
Authorities investigated the case the whole time and worked collaboratively with the federal government of Mexico.
All criminal charges stem from the investigation that began on April 6, 2007 when it was reported to the KPD 11-year-old Deysi Cisneros left a note for her mother and father explaining that she had run away with her boyfriend, Xalamihua-Espindola, who was 19 at that time.
Within five days of the investigation beginning Xalamihua-Espindola had been indicted for one count of custodial interference in the first degree. Investigators from the KPD and the FBI worked to locate the victim and suspect, who had left Oregon and were thought to be enroute to Mexico. The National Center For Missing & Exploited Children created a flyer that was distributed to law enforcement agencies throughout the United States and to border crossing agents on the United States and Mexico border.
On May 1, 2007 investigators confirmed the suspect and victim were in Zongolica, Vera Cruz, Mexico. Special agents from the FBI began coordinating with the Mexican government to locate and recover the victim and to apprehend the suspect.
On Sept. 4, 2007 the victim was located and safely recovered in Mexico, though the suspect evaded capture at that time. Two weeks later, a member of the KPD and an FBI employee flew to Mexico City and took protective custody of the victim at the United States Embassy. She was reunited with her parents at home in Keizer.
The Keizertimes ran two stories on the case at the time.
Within the past two years Xalamihua-Espindola was located and apprehended in Zongolica, Mexico by the Mexican Federales. He spent the last two years incarcerated in a Mexico prison litigating appeals regarding his extradition to the United States to stand trial for the criminal charges from this investigation. He faces four counts of rape in the first degree and one count of custodial interference.
Anyone having information about this investigation is asked to call KPD detective Chris Nelson at 503-390-3713 ext. 3489.
According to the Sept. 14, 2007 Keizertimes, Xalamihua-Espindola lived in the same apartment complex as the Cisneros family. The search stretched from Keizer to Alabama to Mexico.
Initially, police didn’t know how old the suspect was and only had the note Deysi had left for her parents, telling them not to worry.
Police located relatives of Xalamihua-Espindola, who were able to provide the man’s cell phone number.
Two days after Deysi went missing, police caught an apparent break: a relative of the suspect called the KPD and said Xalamihua-Espindola had told him he would have Deysi home in two hours.
That didn’t happen.
“We knew then that this was more than a weekend rendezvous,” KPD deputy chief Jeff Kuhns said at the time.
Kuhns had Det. John Troncoso follow up with the relatives that night, at which point police learned the two were on a Greyhound bus scheduled to arrive in Birmingham, Ala., early the next morning. Troncoso coordinated with the FBI, who had agents waiting at the Alabama bus stop. But when the bus stopped, neither Xalamihua-Espindola or Deysi were anywhere to be found.
On April 11, Deysi called home and indicated she was at a pay phone in Colorado. Other calls were made home as well, with authorities determining by April 20 the calls had been made from Mexico. It took months for U.S. and Mexican governments to put a plan together to get Deysi back home safely.
At the time, police took some heat for not issuing an Amber Alert.
“However inappropriate that relationship might be, it did not lead us to believe she was in danger of serious bodily harm or death,” Kuhns said.
Producers from the TV show America’s Most Wanted called and asked if the KPD wanted the case featured on their show. The offer was declined. More help came from the FBI.
“They have helped us so much,” Troncoso, who retired earlier this year, said at the time. “They’re the ones that facilitated the operations in Mexico.”
Troncoso was the KPD employee who helped pick up Deysi in September 2007.