CLEVELAND - A nondescript St. Paul, Minnesota apartment building was home to an escaped Ohio killer for years, according to authorities. U.S. Marshals captured 66 year-old Oscar Juarez Thursday night, ending nearly four decades on the run since his escape from the Marion Correctional Institution.
“When we arrested him, he denied who he was and denied he was Juarez and we took him to the local police station, and the finger prints matched so then he gave it up,” U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott said.
Juarez lived in the cluttered apartment, with sheets over the windows and several pairs of glasses lying around since 2007, paying rent in cash, according to his landlord. Marshals said
Juarez went by the woman’s name Eleasor Morales Moreno, even using the identity to obtain a Minnesota driver’s license in 2011. Neighbors described him as friendly and said he worked as a newspaper delivery driver.
“It's beyond surprising, his demeanor and attitude. You just never know,” landlord Seth Ludwig said, adding that he passed a background check using Moreno’s identity. “Kinda kept to himself, never had a complaint about him. When he moved in, everything checked out fine.”
Juarez escaped from Ohio's Marion Correctional Institution in 1978, three years into a life sentence for shooting and killing Jose Jesus Pena in Toledo. Authorities say he sawed through his cell bars and cut a prison fence, leaving behind a dummy in his bed.
“Over these decades, he's been operating under numerous assumed names,” Elliott said.
While on the run in the 1980's, Juarez was arrested under aliases in Texas and California but quickly posted bond. Now behind bars, Juarez is the fifth capture since the start of a new cold case unit in the Cleveland U.S. Marshal's Office this year.
“We're taking a look at old escape cases of murderers who have been on the run for decades,” Elliott said.
Juarez is locked up in Minnesota facing escape charges. Elliott said he’ll be transferred to Ohio to serve out his life prison sentence for aggravated murder.