A gang member suspected of killing his pregnant girlfriend and their unborn child was handed over to Escondido police detectives early today after being apprehended in Mexico.
Mexican authorities released Ruben Anthony Cepeda to the U.S. Marshal’s Office at the U.S./Mexico border about 2 a.m., according to Escondido police Sgt. David Cramer. The Marshal’s Office, in turn, transferred Cepeda to Escondido police detectives.
“The apprehension of Cepeda could not have happened without the cooperation of the Mexican authorities,” Cramer said in a statement.
Cepeda, a 21-year-old construction worker and U.S. citizen, is suspected of killing 18-year-old Viridiana Rodriguez and the couple’s 4 1/2-month-old fetus in April.
Police said Rodriguez was shot in the abdomen the evening of April 7 at the Estancia apartment complex at 725 N. Fig St. She and her unborn child died about an hour later at an area hospital.
Two women told police they were in the apartment when they heard a gunshot from another room and found Rodriguez shot. Cepeda allegedly said the shooting was accidental and fled with fellow gang member Jesse Juan Lopez, 22.
Lopez was arrested in San Diego County April 24 on suspicion of accessory to murder and gang allegations. At Lopez’ arraignment, Deputy District Attorney Keith Watanabe said the men were moving into the apartment when the shooting occurred.
Lopez pleaded not guilty and faces seven years in prison if convicted.