Berny Figueroa- Texas- 2008 Jan 14, 2013 13:49:50 GMT -5
Post by Scumhunter on Jan 14, 2013 13:49:50 GMT -5
Fugitive Profile Statistics as of August 6th, 2014 (based on 2011 Interpol poster, AMW archive)
Aliases: Berny Vasquez, Mayel Vasquez, Gamila, Jamila
Present family name: FIGUEROA
Forename: BERNY MAYEL
Date of birth: May 21st, 1978
Place of birth: TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras
Language spoken: Spanish
Traits and Habits: Doesn't speak English, doesn't know how to drive, speaks Spanish with a heavy Honduran accent
Who to call if you've seen her: "The Hunt" tip line at 1-866-THE-HUNT or submit a web tip to the show at cnn.com/thehunt
Normal Day Turns Into Mother's Worst Nightmare
With three young kids, a hard-working husband and a job of her own, Brenham, Texas, mother Sandra Lopez was doing what mothers across the country do on a daily basis: try to balance her work and family life.
March 11, 2008, started just like any other day for Sandra. She took her 5-year-old son to preschool, dropped off her 4-year-old daughter with long-time family friend Berny Mayel Figueroa, and rushed to enroll her 2-year-old daughter Alexia in a Head Start program.
Before going to work, went back to Figueroa's to drop off Alexia. Figueroa was a trusted friend who had been helping Sandra out with the girls for about four months.
When Sandra came back to get her daughters around 5 p.m., she noticed that little Alexia was having trouble breathing. Figueroa told her Alexia hadn't been feeling well and was throwing up.
Sandra got worried because Alexia suffered from asthma, so she went home to provide medical care. When she didn't improve, Sandra rushed Alexia to the hospital.
At the emergency room, the doctors delivered tragic news: Alexia had died. Even worse, cops say the death was no accident: Alexia had been murdered.
The doctors determined Alexia had been punched so hard in the stomach that her large and small intestines had separated.
Cops assigned to the investigation were able to clear Sandra and her husband Manuel, turning their suspicions to the babysitter, Figueroa, who had spent most of the day with Alexia before she died.
Brenham P.D. Detective Lloyd Powell, who has investigated the case from the very beginning, brought Figueroa in for interrogation. After hours of questioning, he and several other detectives concluded that Figueroa was lying to them.
On March 20, 2008, Children's Protective Services intervened. They asked Figueroa to leave her home, where she ran her daycare business.
From 'Missing Person' To Fugitive
Cops say Figueroa then moved to a nearby hotel with the help of her brother, but she wouldn't stay long.
As cops were getting ready to charge Berny Figueroa with the killing the following day, Sgt. Otto Hanak and the Texas Rangers received a call from Figueroa's brother. He told Sgt. Hanak he wanted to report Figueroa as a missing person because he couldn't find her at the hotel.
Sgt. Hanak went to the motel to look for Figueroa. Figueroa's motel room revealed the very picture of a hasty escape: unmade beds, carryout food boxes and even Figueroa's clothes and other personal items.
Sgt. Hanak also found a note written in Spanish where Figueroa said she was leaving because she couldn't stand the pressure. What Hanak didn't see was Figueroa's purse or personal documents.
Cops immediately charged Figueroa with capital murder but had no idea where she was.
Figueroa's escape was not only bad news for Detective Powell, but it also took a huge toll on Sandra's family.
With the main suspect in their daughter's murder gone, Sandra was left with nothing but questions. Why would Figueroa want to hurt Alexia?
"This was a friend of the family, a person I would do favors for," Sandra told AMW.
But Manuel Lopez, Sandra's husband and Alexia's loving dad, took the news the hardest. Sandra says Manuel became extremely depressed and angry and had a hard time dealing with his feelings.
Finally, Manuel's anger exploded right in front of Sandra's eyes.
Cops say Manuel was driving erratically and was pulled over by a police officer. According to police, Manuel had a verbal altercation with the officer, then jumped back in his car and fled. The police officer chased after him and was soon joined by other patrol cars.
As Sandra returned to work after lunch with a friend, she came upon what she called a surreal scene: her husband's truck was being chased by about five police cars.
"The first thing I did was called Detective Powell," Sandra said.
Detective Powell was able to get on the radio and make other officers aware that the man they were chasing a grieving father.
Since Manuel wasn't stopping, officers with the Texas Highway Patrol drew their weapons and shot out Manuel's tires. His truck was disabled, and he was taken into custody.
Detective Powell was able to see him while he was in jail, and Powell says that Manuel was able to get through this difficult episode.
The Turning Point
Every day is a struggle for Sandra, who is doing everything she can to keep her family together.
But she told AMW that there was one thing that made her focus her emotions into action: watching America's Most Wanted.
It was a Saturday night when Sandra watched John Walsh tell the story of Iriana DeJesus, a little girl who had been raped and murdered in Philadelphia.
It was also the story of how Iriana's mother, Mota, had come to celebrate Iriana's life each year on the anniversary of her death.
Sandra says that seeing Mota honor her daughter's memory -- and keeping her case alive -- was the inspiration she needed to do the same thing.
"Just to see the mother, I felt what she was going through," Sandra said. "I knew what she was going through, and it was that day that I said, 'I'm gonna fight, I'm gonna do what I have to do.'"
With Manuel's full support, Sandra has traveled to the Texas border towns of McAllen and Laredo to see if she can find Berny Figueroa, who cops believe may have crossed over into Mexico.
Sandra has also written to her congressman and the governor of Texas asking for help. She continues to work with the local media, she says, to share her story.
Accused Child Killer On The Run
More than two years have passed since cops say Figueroa beat Alexia to death, and now they need your help to find her more than ever.
Cops say Figueroa may have cut and dyed her hair blonde to disguise herself. They also believe that someone may be bankrolling her flight from justice, because Figueroa doesn't speak any English, doesn't know how to drive and has no money.
Figueroa is originally from Honduras, but has lived in the United States legally for several years. She has spent time in Texas and California, but also has contacts in Las Vegas, Nev.
Figueroa may have crossed the border to Mexico on her way to Honduras, but cops believe she still could be in the United States.
Thoughts? Figueroa was a member of John Walsh's last personal dirty dozen before AMW was cancelled, Berny Figueroa. Figueroa as we all know is a babysitter wanted for murdering 2 year-old Alexia Lopez.
Although Honduras is Figueroa's native country, an article has police quoted as believing she's in Mexico or El Salvador.
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