CASE CLOSED: 17 years later, man who fled U.S. gets max. sentence in Va. murder of woman
Following years of police investigation, a judge issued the maximum possible punishment on Friday to the man convicted of killing a woman in Arlington, then immediately fleeing the country in 1999, according to Arlington police.
Ludvin Estrada faces 45 years in prison for the murder of Eva Veliz, 27, who was found dead in the trunk of a vehicle in the Radnor/Ft. Myer Heights neighborhood on May 11, 1999. Estrada fled to Guatemala after the murder, police say.
According to the police investigation, Veliz and Estrada had been out dancing on the night of May 10, 1999. They were last seen together at approximately 2:45 a.m.
At some point in the night, police say, the two got into an argument and Estrada strangled Veliz. Her body, visible from the back window, was stuffed in the trunk of a car and discovered the next day, according to the investigation.
Veliz was a single mother and had a 3-year-old daughter at the time.
Police say they responded to a call about the car in the 1300 block of N. Pierce Street just after 4:30 p.m. on May 11, 1999 and found Veliz’s body.
Estrada immediately fled to Guatemala. A warrant was issued for his arrest, but efforts to find him turned up short, according to police. In 2012, the case was assigned to Arlington County Police Department’s Cold Case Unit.
During their ongoing investigation, police say they were able to secure additional evidence that verified Estrada’s role in the murder.
The Arlington Police Department worked with the U.S. Department of State, the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, the U.S. Marshals Service and Guatemalan law enforcement to find Estrada.
In September of 2016, he was located and extradited to the U.S.
Judge Daniel Fiore sentenced Estrada in the Arlington County Circuit Court almost 18 years after the murder.
“Today’s sentence is the culmination of years of dogged work and perseverance by Arlington’s law enforcement community,” said Theo Stamos, Commonwealth’s Attorney.
“This case demonstrates our commitment to pursue cases, no matter how much time has passed,” said Arlington County Deputy Chief Daniel J. Murray, Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division
“The message to criminals and the families of the victims is clear – Arlington County will not waver in our commitment to investigate and prosecute cold case homicides.”