Murdered woman's family hopeful "FBI Top 10 list" will lead to a - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Murdered woman's family hopeful 'FBI Top 10 list' will lead to arrest

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Jose Manuel Garcia Guevara (Source: FBI) Jose Manuel Garcia Guevara (Source: FBI)
(Source: FBI) (Source: FBI)

It's been more than five years since the brutal crime happened. Now, federal authorities have added Jose Manuel Garcia Guevara to the FBI's 10 "Most Wanted" fugitive list.

"We are hopeful because, I think with the top 10, the publicity the top 10 fugitive program provides, not just in the United States but nationally including Mexico, might trigger cooperation and we've had a long history of success with the top 10 program," said Michael Anderson, FBI Special Agent from New Orleans.

Officials said 25-year-old Guevara is the man authorities are seeking in the home invasion, sexual assault and murder of 26-year-old Wanda Barton.

Authorities said it happened in the early morning hours of Feb. 19, 2008. The murder reportedly happened in front of Barton's 4-year-old stepson. Barton was stabbed to death.

Authorities said Guevara was an illegal alien working construction in the Lake Charles area and was a neighbor of Barton's.

Guevara reportedly fled to Dallas after the murder.

Authorities had information at the time that he then fled to his hometown of Rioverde, San Luis Potosi in Mexico, a region south of Laredo, Texas. He is believed to still be in Mexico, but authorities said he may have traveled to the U.S. using fraudulent documentation.

Mexico will not turn over a man who might face execution, so local officials agree not to pursue the death penalty if Guevara is caught and found guilty.

Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso said they hope this new development will help them capture Guevara.

"It's just been very difficult, you know, we haven't got a whole lot of cooperation and we believe it was because of the death penalty being on the table, and since the district attorney has been able to get him indicted on second-degree murder, thus allowing -- hopefully -- for more cooperation," Mancuso said.

Someone, somewhere knows where Guevara is and if they provide information leading to his arrest, they could collect up to a $100,000.  

Wanda's husband and sisters said it's been a difficult five years. 

"They were receiving no cooperation from the Mexican Government. And when you don't receive cooperation from a government you're needing help from, it's going to be a deadend street. I believe he's still in Mexico; I don't believe he would come here," said Keven Barton, the victim's husband.

Her sisters said it will provide some measure of closure if Guevara can be apprehended.

"She was my little sister. Nine years apart. Just a wonderful person; good as gold, would help anybody, would do anything for anybody," said B.J. Hall Frieu.

Another sister, Barbara Young, is also optimistic this new development will bring about an arrest.

"I'm hoping this will get the exposure out and get him caught," said Young.

Guevara is considered armed and dangerous and officials believe he is hiding out in Mexico.

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