Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso and District Attorney John DeRosier speak at a news conference Monday to announce that a man wanted for raping and murdering his 26-year-old neighbor in Lake Charles in 2008 was added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. Jose Manuel Garcia Guevara, 25, is accused of breaking into the home of Wanda Barton, 26, on Feb. 19, 2008 and raping and stabbing her to death in front of her 4-year-old son. (Johnathan Manning / American Press)
Last Modified: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 11:57 AM
A man wanted for raping and murdering his 26-year-old neighbor in Lake Charles in 2008 was added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list on Monday.
Jose Manuel Garcia Guevara, 25, is accused of breaking into the home of Wanda Barton, 26, on Feb. 19, 2008, and raping and stabbing her to death in front of her 4-year-old son.
The FBI announced the addition of Guevara and a reward up to $100,000 at a news conference at the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Guevara is the 499th person added to the list, started in 1999, according to Michael Anderson, special agent in charge of the FBI’s New Orleans Office.
It is the first time a person wanted for a crime committed in Southwest Louisiana has been on the list, Mary Beth Romig, spokesperson for the FBI in New Orleans, said.
“What worse criminal can you get than somebody who murders somebody, rapes them and kills them in front of their four-year-old son?” Tony Mancuso, Calcasieu Parish sheriff, asked. “It just doesn’t get a whole lot worse than that, so I want to thank the FBI and the family for their assistance throughout this ordeal.”
Barton’s husband, Kevin Barton, as well as her sisters, B.J. Hall-Frieu and Barbara Young, attended the news conference.
The past few years have been “very frustrating” as Garcia Guevara has evaded capture, Kevin Barton said. “He could do this to somebody else and that’s not what we want. We want him to answer for what he did and pay for it.”
Guevara, who was in the country illegally, is believed to have returned to Mexico, although he may have come back to the United States using false documents, Romig said in a news release.
Barton’s body was found the morning of Feb. 20, 2008 — her 4-year-old son was in the home unharmed.
Kevin Barton said the family did not know Garcia Guevara.
“He came into my house and stole my wife,” Kevin Barton said. “I couldn’t have picked him out of a lineup.”
Guevara is believed to have left for Dallas by bus about 10 a.m. Feb. 20, before returning to his hometown of Rioverde, San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
He was seen on camera crossing the border into Mexico, Mancuso said.
“We believe we’re close to identifying his location in Mexico,” Anderson said.
Guevara was indicted by a grand jury in April 2008 on charges of second-degree murder, aggravated rape and aggravated burglary.
The Mexican government has not been cooperative, Mancuso said.
Mancuso said Garcia Guevara was charged with the lesser charge of second-degree murder instead of first-degree murder because Mexico won’t extradite anyone facing the death penalty.
“Sometimes the big picture and the end result has to be our focus and we want him back in Calcasieu Parish to answer to these charges even if it means taking the death penalty off the table,” Mancuso said.
Calcasieu Parish District Attorney John DeRosier urged the Mexican government to help apprehend Garcia Guevara.
“This is a slap in the face of every hard-working Mexican-American who comes to the United States because they think it is the land of opportunity and they take advantage of that to help support their family,” DeRosier said. “This is a slap in the face to each and every one of them. The Mexican government should apprehend this defendant for us and send him back to Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, to face these criminal charges.”
Anderson said the FBI considers the severity of crimes and the person’s ability to evade capture when determining whom to put on the most-wanted list.
Garcia Guevara was one of two fugitives added to the FBI’s list Monday and the seventh person to have committed crimes in Louisiana to be added to the list, Anderson said.
The other added Monday was Walter Lee Williams, a man accused of traveling to foreign countries to have sex with children.
Of the 500 people who have been added to the list since it was begun in 1950, 469 have been apprehended or located, Romig said.