A Prince George's County man who disappeared after he allegedly stabbed his roommate in the head turned himself in after seeing his story featured in The Washington Examiner, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.
Elvys Valenzuela, 30, becomes the 49th fugitive whose arrest has been credited to the newspaper since it began the weekly "Most Wanted" feature four years ago. Although a vast majority of the fugitives are captured through tips from alert readers, three of the past four arrests were men who surrendered after seeing their story and mugshot in The Examiner.
(See a photo gallery of all 49 fugitives captured after their stories were featured in the Examiner)
Matt Burke, supervisory inspector for the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force, said Valenzuela's family and lawyer told marshals' deputies that he wanted to surrender before his profile appeared in The Examiner, but he kept running instead.
After his story appeared Oct. 24, Valenzuela made the right decision, Burke said.
"The profile sealed the deal. It was the nudge he needed," Burke said.
A lot of times the suspect will get embarrassed that their fugitive status has been made public, Burke said. Sometimes the profile closes down avenues for them to remain on the run. Other times the fugitive sees that law enforcement authorities are serious about finding him.
Valenzuela had his attorney make arrangements and he turned himself in to Prince George's County Sheriff's Office officials on Thursday.
Valenzuela is accused of stabbing his roommate during a fight about the rent at their Hyattsville home in August.
He was wanted on charges of attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault and second-degree assault. He was being held Monday without bond.
Since 2008, the "Most Wanted" feature has led directly to the capture or surrender of 49 people, including murderers, armed robbers, kidnappers, sex offenders, drug dealers and con artists, federal officials say. At least eight captured were wanted in a killing or had previously been convicted of a homicide.
In the previous two months, The Examiner and its readers have been credited for the apprehension of two fugitives. A 79-year-old armed robber with a 2007 sex offense conviction turned himself in after seeing his profile in The Examiner, and a reader's tip led to the arrest of a convicted kidnapper.
CARFTF, run by the U.S. Marshals Service, is composed of 30 federal, state and local agencies from Baltimore to Norfolk.
The unit has captured more than 33,000 fugitives since its creation in 2004.