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Suspect in Van Nuys Killing Held in New York : Crime: Man had been sought since the Christmas Eve, 1989, slaying of his ex-girlfriend.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

New York City police have arrested a Van Nuys man wanted since 1989 on charges of kidnaping, raping and murdering his ex-girlfriend, who had told police two days before her death that he threatened her with a knife, authorities said Tuesday.

Ruben Dario Garcia, 22, was arrested Sunday in the Brighton Beach section of New York. He is accused in the death of Anna Cecelia Alfaro, 22, on Christmas Eve, 1989.

Garcia is being held at Riker’s Island prison and faces an extradition hearing Friday, said Los Angeles Police Detective Bob Parsons. If convicted in California of the murder charge with special circumstances, Garcia could face the death sentence, Parsons said.

Witnesses said that Alfaro was kidnaped at gunpoint by Garcia as she arrived with Christmas gifts at her parents’ home in the 7000 block of Hazeltine Avenue in Van Nuys. She was found shot to death a block away a few minutes later.

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The Alfaro family was placed briefly under police protection after they said Garcia had threatened them. Police said Garcia was spotted near the Alfaro home a day after the killing.

In the four months before the shooting, Alfaro had called police several times to complain of threats and assaults by Garcia. But in each instance, Garcia fled before police arrived.

By mid-December, 1989, Alfaro told relatives she was going to request a restraining order against Garcia that would give police the authority to arrest him if he came near her.

At the time of the slaying, Garcia was on probation for a June, 1988, auto theft conviction. Four days before Alfaro was killed, Garcia’s probation was revoked because he had stopped attending monthly probation meetings.

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Within a week of the murder, police raided 11 residences in North Hollywood and Van Nuys and one in East Los Angeles in search of Garcia. Parsons said that police “heard on the street” from gang members that Garcia had fled to New York, where he had grown up after moving there from Puerto Rico.

Prior to his capture Sunday, Garcia, who had been going under several different names, had been arrested in New York on drug charges several times, said New York Police Officer Carl Martello. After Garcia’s recent release on his own recognizance, an officer noticed that he matched the description of the man wanted in the Alfaro slaying and contacted Los Angeles authorities, Martello said.

“We found him in a drug location the Brighton Beach area hanging out on a corner at about 4 a.m. Sunday,” Martello said. “He had changed his appearance a little bit, shaved his head and hid his tattoos since leaving L.A.”


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