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'Pumpkin's' dad to be extradited

  • Story Highlights
  • Murder suspect will be escorted to New Zealand by U.S. immigration officers
  • Nai Yin Xue allegedly killed his wife and abandoned their daughter, 3
  • Child was nicknamed 'Pumpkin' and garnered international sympathy
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ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- A man arrested in the U.S. after a months-long, intercontinental manhunt will be deported to New Zealand to face murder charges in the death of his wife, authorities told CNN Friday.

Nai Yin Xue was arrested in Chamblee, Georgia, on Thursday after residents of an apartment complex recognized his photo in a Chinese-language newspaper, called police and detained him until officers arrived, police said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement took custody of Xue on Friday, police, said spokesman Pat Reilly. ICE agents will escort him back to New Zealand, Reilly said.

He is accused of killing his wife, Anan Liu, 27, and stuffing her body in the trunk of a car outside the couple's Auckland, New Zealand, home last September.

Days later, authorities said, Xue, believed to be in his early 50s, abandoned the couple's 3-year-old daughter at a Melbourne, Australia, train station.

The child became known internationally as "Pumpkin" because of a label in the sweater she was wearing. Authorities attempting to contact her parents discovered her mother's body.

Meanwhile, authorities said, Xue landed in Los Angeles on September 15, the same day his daughter was discovered at the train station.

Video of the girl being left at the Melbourne train station sparked the international manhunt.

"He just walked away from her," said Thomas Hession, chief inspector for the U.S. Marshals' Regional Fugitive Task Force in Los Angeles.

Xue is in the United States illegally, said Patrick Crosby, spokesman for federal prosecutors in Atlanta.

Because of that, Crosby said, he will not appear before a magistrate, but instead will be transferred to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be sent back to New Zealand.

Police said Thursday that Xue holds dual citizenship in China and New Zealand.

The case featured on the television show "America's Most Wanted" twice but it was the Chinese newspaper that led to his capture.

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"The Chinese community was very helpful in this. They were great," Hession said.

U.S. law enforcement were concentrating on the southern states after tips in January that he was seen in Biloxi, Mississippi, Houston, Texas, and Mobile, Alabama. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Mike Phelan contributed to this report

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