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Suspect in mom-son slayings surrenders after 1 day on FBI's Top 10 list

By Susan Candiotti and Gabe LaMonica, CNN
updated 4:40 PM EDT, Fri March 28, 2014
Juan Elias Garcia was arrested in Nicaragua a day after he appeared on the FBI's 10 most wanted list, a source familiar with the investigation said Friday, March 28. Garcia is suspected of playing a part in the killing of a New York woman and her toddler in 2010. Click through to see the others who are on the <a href='http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/topten' target='_blank'>FBI's Most Wanted List</a> as of March 28. Juan Elias Garcia was arrested in Nicaragua a day after he appeared on the FBI's 10 most wanted list, a source familiar with the investigation said Friday, March 28. Garcia is suspected of playing a part in the killing of a New York woman and her toddler in 2010. Click through to see the others who are on the FBI's Most Wanted List as of March 28.
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FBI's 10 most wanted
Jason Derek Brown
Robert William Fisher
Alexis Flores
Fidel Urbina
Glen Stewart Godwin
Eduardo Ravelo
Victor Manuel Gerena
Jose Manuel Garcia Guevara
Semion Mogilevich
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Juan Elias Garcia, who had a $100,000 reward on his head, surrendered in Nicaragua
  • He's accused of killing a 19-year-old woman and her 2-year-old son
  • A soured romance and gang rivalries are involved, the FBI says

(CNN) -- A man suspected of killing a young New York mother and her toddler in 2010 was arrested in Nicaragua one day after making the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list. On Friday, authorities said, he was returned to the United States.

Juan Elias Garcia, whom the FBI calls an "enthusiastic murderer," had a $100,000 reward on his head.

"The pressure generated by this publicity was too much for Garcia to bear, resulting in his surrender and return to the United States," George Venizelos, FBI assistant director in charge of the New York field office, said in a statement.

Garcia surrendered Thursday to authorities at the U.S. Embassy in Managua, Nicaragua, authorities said.

Garcia voluntarily agreed to return to the United States and was arrested in New York Friday after the FBI sent a plane to transport him, the statement said. He is to appear in federal court on March 31.

"Garcia's callous disregard for human life resulted in the senseless murder of a young mother and her helpless 2-year-old son," Venizelos said on the agency's website on Wednesday.

Garcia is alleged to be a member of the violent MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, gang. He was thought to be hiding in El Salvador.

The FBI said a romantic entanglement and gang rivalries lay at the heart of slayings.

Juan Elias Garcia is accused of murder, racketeering and other crimes.
Juan Elias Garcia is accused of murder, racketeering and other crimes.

Alleged victim Vanessa Argueta, 19, is said to have had a romantic relationship with Garcia, and she's also believed to have had ties to two rival gangs: the 18th Street gang and the Latin Kings.

"They were going to kill her for disrespecting the gang," Special Agent James Lopez said in the FBI release. "It is unacceptable for MS-13 members to have girls they associate with be involved with rival gang members."

The FBI said that under the guise of an invitation to dinner in Central Islip, New York, Garcia coerced Argueta and her 2-year-old son into the woods. There, they were met by two co-conspirators -- members of Mara Salvatrucha -- and Argueta was murdered execution-style in front of her son. The FBI said the same gun was then used to kill the toddler

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