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NOTE - THIS PAGE CONTAINS DETAILS ABOUT A KIDNAPPING CASE IN DALLAS AND IS NOT MEANT FOR VIEWING WITHOUT FIRST VIEWING ITS PARENT PAGE, which can be accessed with the button below:
Oscar Sanchez Kidnapping Case
Details of Our Search Efforts for Oscar Sanchez
Satellite Image of Area Below Annotated with paths taken
(Music by Michael W. Smith and Phil Collins with Sting - Adjust volume settings at bottom of this page)
NOTE: New Updates Regarding Case Coming Soon (August 2005) [Author: I posted this note in August and fell ill shortly thereafter and was not able to post the updates I had planned. After having been visited at this web site by America's Most Wanted staff and speaking to them about the case via e-mail, my next step was to post on my web page that I would give all of the reward money to the family of the final suspect who had escaped to Mexico if he would turn himself in. Knowing this case started out of greed, I was hopeful that this final act would cause the final suspect to turn himself in. Fortunately he was captured before I took this step, which I was prepared to take if law enforcement agencies felt this could help. I was pleasantly surprised to learn of the capture of the final suspect. Thanks to the person who brought his capture to my attention. Details and updated news articles will be appended to the bottom of this page.]
Update! 2nd Suspect Captured by Mexican Authorities 10/14/2005 (Article at bottom/page)
Believing there was a possibility Mr. Sanchez was alive despite having apparently been shot, the thought of him lying in a field somewhere hanging on by a thread and battling the elements really ate at us. When the search was moved further East of the original search location, I was compelled to physically search on my own to the West of where law enforcement and volunteers were looking. No one else at that point was looking there because the suspect in custody was relaying information via the Chicago Police Department that were sketchy at best. The suspect in custody was not familiar with that area and was unable to accurately describe where Mr. Sanchez had been placed. Only limited details were released prior to the discovery of Mr. Sanchez. The reason I searched to the West of their perimeter is on the investigative page. I printed out a number of satellite images and maps (see Kidnapping Details Page Link below) and went out that day looking. The day after I searched, at noon, breaking news came on television announcing the discovery of Mr. Sanchez, who sadly was deceased. I was preparing to go back out again that afternoon and was finishing lunch when it came on. I was totally shocked when in the background behind the reporter I saw the street sign and realized it was the street I had started on. If I had 10 people with me that day we would have found him. I had a bad cold at the time as well which didn't help.
How I came to search this area on Wednesday, 24 hours before Mr. Sanchez was located
On Sunday, with the capture of Jose Felix in Chicago, the case became a murder investigation and a search for the body. On Monday Dallas Police Officials found bloody evidence including a truck bed liner, clothes and other items apparently related to the murder investigation. They searched that area heavily, then on Tuesday they searched the same area and Dallas Fire Department boats traversed the Trinity River between Dowdy Ferry Road and the I-20 Bridge. I spoke with fire fighters as they pulled their boats from the Trinity to see what ground they had covered. I then moved 1/8th of a mile East of the Trinity River and Dowdy Ferry Road and spent the remainder of Tuesday afternoon searching that area up to the Interstate. While there a friend of Oscars family spoke to me. He was in a nice Pickup truck, and we spoke for a few minutes about Oscar and right there we grasped hands and said a prayer asking God to Bless Oscar wherever he was at. I moved on searching East toward the Interstate. I even crossed the freeway and got off the service road and searched for an hour north of the freeway NW of I-20 and Dowdy Ferry Exit. Then on Wednesday morning first thing it was announced that the search would be moved further East of the locations we all searched on Tuesday, between that site and Highway 175. This is where I deviated from everyone else. It did not make sense to me. The suspects were traveling to Chicago to the East, the house where Oscar was held was to the West in Duncanville, and I believed they would have dropped Mr. Sanchez first, then the bed liner and other evidence, so on Wednesday I decided to search due West of where the other evidence was found. My best friend stopped by for lunch at my house that day, and I told him I was going to go look for Mr. Sanchez and explained my reasoning. He told me: "Steele, that will be like finding a needle in a haystack." His words rang in my ears several times while I was looking that day. I went out and I searched for about 4 hours Wednesday (see map and satellite images) between noon and 4:30 to the West, after printing out both maps and satellite images of the area due West of the location of the initial evidence found Monday. In the middle of my search Wednesday I saw a dog on a 2 lane blacktop road and it was barking down at the creek to the side of the road. I got out of the car to investigate thinking it might be Mr. Sanchez and saw a mother dog dead in the creek below. The puppy was guarding its mother, who apparently had been hit by a car. She was half in the creek, half out. I took some photographs (below) of the dogs, and e-mailed the Dallas Humane Society about the dog that night - they responded and I called the next morning to give the exact location of the animals. I am writing this part on Thursday the next day, and about 30 minutes ago they announced they believed they found the remains of Oscar Sanchez. I am grateful that he has been found and the family can hopefully begin finding some sense of peace. This was such a tragedy - the man has a 2 month old baby. Tremendous loss. Below is the map where I searched. I marked all the areas I had searched with blue ink pen in case the police stopped me and asked where I had searched at. In trying to imagine the criminals mindset at the time of their attempt to rid themselves of all evidence, I felt they were probably desperate to at least get Mr. Sanchez out of the vehicle first as that was the most incriminating - then the other evidence. Knowing they were in a rush to get to Chicago and to rid themselves of the evidence, it made sense that the body would have been to the West of the evidence found, as that would have been the logical order. My thinking would have been out the window if they had gotten lost in that area, however, the fact that they chose that area led me to believe that at least one of them was familiar with the area. I was surprised that Police Officials moved the search to the East on Wednesday morning, which prompted me to move West with my search Wednesday after lunch. I assumed that interviews with the murderer captured in Chicago had given them reason to go East, however, the suspect did not arrive in Dallas until 5 pm on Wednesday evening for Dallas Police Detectives to interview directly. I also thought there was a possibility that the murderer was confused with "I-35" interstate and "I-45" interstate, as they run parallel, about 5 miles apart, north to south. The photos of the dogs and the e-mail exchange with the Humane Society about the dogs below here. God Bless the family of Oscar Sanchez and God rest his soul.
Looking back: Looking back on that day, there were 2 dead dogs right on Cedardale Road, the first was just as your turned on to the street there, and it was on the left. The odd thing was that it was a dog house that look like it had either fallen out of a car or something. It was a wrecked dog house and there was a dead dog half in and half out of it. About 20 yards further up on the left was another dead dog. I almost wonder looking back at it now whether the two suspects might have placed these dead dogs there to throw dogs or volunteer searchers off of the path. I remember a lot of dead animal smell, particularly on the first half of my search up that road. Thought it was important for others who might be searching for a victim or the deceased, in a homicide situation the killers may try new means of throwing people off. (It also could be a common dumping ground for dead animals among locals I don't know.)
UPDATE: Friday, Jan. 28, 2005 - 5:00 pm - Went to verify the exact location where Mr. Sanchez was found when I was unable to clarify the exact spot with local media representatives. The body of Mr. Sanchez was left about 30 yards south of the Intersection shown in the map further down on this page. When I was there that day I saw some security trucks at the plant on the other side of the road, and assumed they would have been there at night also and so did not think they would have attempted to drop Mr. Sanchez there. It was a coincidence as I had checked every single driveway to the left side of the road going toward 20, but the area where Mr. Sanchez was left was barely big enough to back a pick up into. On the map you'll note the T-intersection where the Red Circle is shown. Mr. Sanchez was about 25-30 yards south of that intersection, on the left side, only 15 feet from the road. My thought was the killers were in a hurry and scared and would not have taken the time to cover him up, just drop him and flee. They did take some time to cover him up, but not enough to hide him from a Dallas detective and volunteers from a local nursing home searching on Thursday. While I checked every major driveway to the left up to where Mr. Sanchez was located, I did get out of the car and walk up into these last areas on the left prior to getting to the T-intersection because of the security trucks across the road from location. Photos taken today follow here, and the map of my search is after.
Thursday 1:30 pm: (One and a half hours after breaking news report on WFAA).
Just got off the phone with volunteer Larry Jenkins who helped find the body of Mr. Sanchez (in news video) - I appear to have been within 10-20 feet of having found him. He was not real familiar with this area and was only able to provide me with general area of location. A map of my search route is below in thumbnail format - click on it to see enlarged view.
NOTE:Maps updated on Friday after photographing the scene - new Blue Dot near red circle (top left) is exact location. Areas I searched on Wednesday, the day before Mr. Sanchez was found, are marked in blue ink.
SHIFT - CLICK (Hold shift button on keyboard when clicking any images on this page to open in separate window and keep music or video playing.)
Map of All Addresses Relevant to Case: (click thumbnail photo for full size)
Finally, satellite view with map overlay:
Mother dog - half in water, half out, and puppy below -
The following information was added and initiated following the advice of a close family member of mine who is a Private Investigator. After my initial interest in the case and disclosure to him, he began handling all of the skip trace and other online investigation with me as we hoped to help on the case. Dallas Police officers came to my home on the Thursday prior to pick up the information we had developed following skip traces of the address where the suspects had held Mr. Sanchez. We had developed information on two possible other suspects and turned that information over to police officials.
Suspects in Case (Both now in Custody)
Murderers Jose Felix (left) and Edgar Acevedo are sought in the disappearance of restaurateur Oscar Sanchez.
Moving Truck that appeared one week before kidnapping
(My family member and I thought this moving truck mentioned on the news could be significant, and so we began attempting to locate this vehicle. The following are our notes regarding this vehicle.)
Neighbors reported a moving truck appeared at the kidnapping suspects house before the kidnapping and moved a bunch of boxes from house.
I spoke to a neighbor there by phone who saw the moving truck and garnered additional details from him. Neighbor stated truck came on the Tuesday prior to kidnapping, exactly a week earlier, and said it was between 2 and 3 pm when he noticed truck while getting his mail. He thought it was unusual that they were only packing boxes and not furniture. He watched them loading for a while. 2 men on the porch (Hispanic) were instructing 3 men, 1 African-American and 2 Hispanic, on what to load into the truck. The neighbor commented on news footage he thought it was strange they were only loading boxes and not furniture.
The truck itself was a Light Grey Moving type truck, with a Texas plate (n/a) but definitely a Texas plate based on neighbors memory. It had 2 wheels in the back, not 4 so maybe a 1.5 ton truck. No descriptive markings on the vehicle at all. Based on the way occupants of home on porch were directing the loading of the vehicle and the fact they did not help, would seem these were hired movers and not friends or associates. Our thought was that they ditched the white pickup truck announced on the news and were traveling in the moving vehicle, or that they had moved the boxes to a local mini-warehouse and maybe had Mr. Sanchez at the mini-warehouse.
We began to check on mini-warehouses in the area and surveillance footage at convenience stores at every major intersection surrounding the house to get a photo of the truck or possible license plate, either driving by or refueling. We actually went to every convenience store, gas station, grocery store and other locations that would have surveillance cameras in an attempt to help track down the kidnappers. I even went to the Dominos Pizza less than a mile from the house with photos to see if they had any deliveries to that address. The neighbor felt the vehicle used to move the stuff was about 5 years old. Date of move confirmed because neighbor recalls his girlfriend was returning to town the next day, on Wednesday, so the move occurred on the prior Tuesday. While going to the stores at the intersections that day and speaking with store managers about viewing their past weeks surveillance footage, I saw a Funeral home in Duncanville. Feeling that the kidnappers could possibly be symbolic in the disposing of Mr. Sanchez, I searched behind the funeral home and actually found a stolen car hidden in the woods behind the funeral home. I contacted Duncanville officers who responded to the scene. The car was hidden under a bunch of tree limbs and brush back in the woods. The only reason I saw it was because the bumper was showing and reflecting light it was buried in tree limbs so well. Although stolen, the vehicle was empty and not related to the Sanchez case.
Truck Similar to one owned by suspect Felix:
One of many news articles regarding the case - this one was 2 days after the abduction.
Cops seek truck in kidnap case
Police looking for white Chevy, owner of home they raided 11:39 PM CST on Thursday, January 20, 2005
By JASON TRAHAN / The Dallas Morning News and ERNESTO LONDONO / Al Dia
Police on Thursday were searching for a pickup missing from a Duncanville home where they believe a kidnapped restaurateur may have been held and harmed. A man who owns the home and the pickup also is missing and is wanted for questioning.
A helicopter search of Duncanville and surrounding areas failed to find signs of Oscar Sanchez, 30, whose family owns La Calle Doce and El Ranchito restaurants. Kidnappers were last heard from Tuesday night, hours before police raided the house only to discover bloody evidence of a struggle within the home.
Authorities now believe the attackers are driving a white 2004 Chevrolet Silverado half-ton extended-cab pickup registered to the home's owner, Jose Felix. Dallas Independent School District officials say he was a teacher for the district and has not reported to work since Nov. 22.
The victim's relatives have said they think a former El Ranchito employee, an immigrant with multiple aliases who has ties to Mr. Felix, could be a captor. Neither the employee nor Mr. Felix have been named as suspects, but they are among several people whom police want to question.
Mr. Sanchez was abducted Tuesday morning when a white sedan rammed the back of his Honda Civic a few blocks from his home.
The car was found abandoned at the intersection of Canty Street and Winnetka Avenue.
Kidnappers contacted the family repeatedly Tuesday, when they asked the victim's mother, Laura Sanchez, for a large ransom for her son's safe return. But no one showed up at an agreed-upon drop point in Arlington late Tuesday.
"I think the family is frustrated, as any family would be frustrated in a situation like this," said Terry Hart, a family attorney. "The family is cooperating with law enforcement agencies. Our hope is to get Oscar back."
Family members remained hopeful Thursday that Mr. Sanchez would be found alive, but they declined to comment publicly.
Police have revealed no motive for the abduction of Mr. Sanchez, who controls much of his family's business, but they said they had their first major break in the case when they followed tips and traced ransom calls to a house in the 300 block of Royal Avenue in Duncanville.
SWAT officers raided that home early Wednesday and found no one there. They did find signs of a struggle and carried out bags of evidence.
The family has provided DNA samples, and tests are being conducted to determine whether blood in the home belonged to Mr. Sanchez.
Police also towed two cars from the scene, including a white sedan believed to have been used in the abduction, but a white Chevrolet pickup normally parked there was missing.
Detectives found the truck's paperwork Thursday during a second search of the house and are seeking that vehicle.
Police say the Texas license plate could be 10JRK1 or 9SWD73.
Donald Claxton, DISD spokesman, said late Thursday that a teacher named Jose Felix, who has been with the district since August 2003, hasn't been to work since Nov. 22. Mr. Claxton did not say where he taught.
It is believed he is the same Mr. Felix sought by police.
Mr. Felix had put in for a leave of absence, but it had not yet been approved, the spokesman said.
"We're moving to terminate," he said.
Mr. Sanchez graduated from Dallas' Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and the University of Texas at Austin. He lives in north Oak Cliff with his wife and newborn baby.
A search of public records found no criminal history for Mr. Sanchez.
On Thursday, the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association and Schepps Dairy, as well as other donors, offered a reward of $42,500 for information leading to the arrest and indictment of Mr. Sanchez's captors.
Anyone with information about his abduction or the missing white truck is urged to call Dallas police at 214-671-3584.
News reports on story from start to end of kidnapping (if background music playing you can leave on at low volume and still hear the video below, or, press the Red X or Stop button at the top left of this window first, or go to the bottom of this page and stop music then start video):
DSL Hi-Speed Internet Version
Dial Up Slow Speed Internet Version
News 8 WFAA News Report on Discovery: Link not working as of Aug. 2005. See above full video segments as they will always work. They contain the story from start to finish. This footage enabled me to locate the exact spot where Mr. Sanchez was found and to take the photographs below.
2nd Suspect Captured Friday 10/14/2005—would have been Oscar Sanchez's 31st Birthday
American fugitive detained in Mexico
DALLAS - The nine-month search for a man wanted in the abduction and slaying of a Dallas restaurateur ended with an arrest in a Mexican resort town Friday.
Mexican federal authorities captured Edgar "Richie" Acevedo in Cabo San Lucas and were preparing to take the 25-year-old former waiter at an Oscar Sanchez family restaurant to Mexico City, Dallas police said.
FBI Special Agent Lori Bailey confirmed the arrest, but would not discuss details.
Sanchez was kidnapped the morning of Jan. 18 in what police believe was a staged car wreck in Dallas. His body was found in a field in southern Dallas about a week later.
Police say Jose Felix, a former teacher, was Acevedo's accomplice in the kidnapping and slaying.
In the weeks following the slaying, Felix was captured in Chicago. He was about to board a plane to Guadalajara, Mexico, where Acevedo had flown a day earlier. Felix's trial on capital murder charges is set for Jan. 30.
Bailey said Acevedos' arrest came as the result of a provisional warrant forwarded to Mexico from U.S. authorities for "unlawful fight to avoid prosecution."
"So the process will start to bring him back to Dallas to face murder charges," she told The Dallas Morning News in the newspaper's online editions Friday.
Mexican protection consul Luis Lara said that he didn't have information about Acevedo's arrest, but that an extradition process could be lengthy because Acevedo could make use of a legal resource protecting people from being extradited.
Lara said that the Mexican government doesn't extradite people who could face the death penalty in the United States. (Site Author: my understanding, if correct, is that Texas officials will have to agree not to give him the death penalty for Mexico to turn him over to US. He can get a life sentence, just not the death penalty, again, if I am correct. This was how it used to be and may still be.)
Mexico confirms arrest in restaurateur death
Saturday, October 29, 2005
The Mexican Attorney General's Office has confirmed that the man accused of killing a member of a prominent Dallas restaurant family in Dallas has been transferred to a Mexico City jail while he awaits extradition to the U.S. Edgar "Richie" Acevedo is accused of kidnapping and killing Oscar Sanchez, whose family owns El Ranchito and La Calle Doce. Mexican authorities now say Mr. Acevedo was arrested Oct. 14 in Nuevo Leon, not in Cabo San Lucas as they first reported. U.S. federal agents have yet to confirm details about Mr. Acevedo's incarceration. "We cannot confirm any of that, and we have not confirmed anything about where he was arrested, where he's at or when he's coming back", said Lori Bailey, an FBI agent in Dallas. Jose Felix, a former teacher at the Dallas school district, has also been arrested in connection with Mr. Sanchez's death in January.
TURN IT OFF by Phil Collins with Sting
While I sit here trying to think of things to say Someone lies bleeding in a field somewhere So it would seem we've still got a long long way to go I've seen all I wanna see today
While I sit here trying to move you anyway I can Someone's son lies dead in a gutter somewhere And it would seem that we've got a long long way to go But I can't take it anymore
Turn it off if you want to Switch it off it will go away Turn it off if you want to Switch it off or look away
While I sit and we talk and talk and we talk some more Someone's loved one's heart stops beating in a street somewhere So it would seem we've still got a long long way to go, I know I've heard all I wanna hear today
Turn it off if you want to (turn it off if you want to) Switch it off it will go away (switch it off it will go away) Turn it off if you want to (turn it off if you want to) Switch it off or look away (switch it off or look away)
Switch it off Switch it off
Switch it off
Switch it off
Switch it off
Switch it off
Switch it off
Turn it off
Use Controls to Adjust Volume and start/stop media player
SCENES OF LOCATION WHERE MR. SANCHEZ WAS FOUND FOLLOW
A few days after the Police cleared the scene I went back to try and figure out how I missed him that day. With two dead dogs within the first 30 yards of the road where he was at, the stench of these animals was strong. It made me wonder if the dogs may have been placed there to throw searchers and dogs off.
The three pink flags indicate the location of Mr. Sanchez
Location in proximity to the T-intersection (street sign in distance to right, I-20 in background)
View looking back the other direction, away from I-20 - this was how close I came - I had actually gone into every clearing up to this point but did not enter this one due to security vehicles across the road (to left in photo below) and due to the small size of this clearing. The other ones were large enough for me to drive into - this one was barely large enough for a vehicle to pull into.
View from road as you drove by, Mr. Sanchez was to left of debris 15 feet in, 8 feet to left of pile you see.
Another shot of scene - if you walked into clearing to dark brush pile seen above, turned left, this is where it was. I really can't believe I missed him but am grateful he was found within 24 hours of my having been there. I would have been pretty upset if I had been that close and he had not been found for many days or weeks. This was the street where I started at, and then branched out to other areas. The map link I've included below shows my exact path that day.
"Let no man put asunder what God hath joined together."