Convicted Killer Caught 37 Years After Prison Escape

Oscar Juarez
Oscar Juarez

Oscar Juarez was one of Ohio’s most wanted men until he was caught last week in St. Paul, Minnesota by marshals with the U.S. Marshal’s Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force along with help from the St. Paul Police Department.

Juarez is a convicted murderer who escaped from the Marion Correctional Institution in Ohio in 1978 after cutting through the bars of his prison cell and a chain link fence.

When prison guards entered Juarez’s prison cell to search for him, they found out that he had put a decoy dummy in his bed that was hidden under sheets and blankets.

At the time of his escape, Juarez was serving life in prison for shooting and killing a man in 1975.

Juarez had been arrested six times in California and one time in Texas during the 1980s for various offenses, but always managed to be let go because he was using fake and stolen identities.

He was finally caught by authorities last Thursday evening at his apartment building in St. Paul, Minnesota. It isn’t clear how long Juarez had been living in Minnesota, but he told authorities that he had been living there for 20 years.

On Friday, Juarez appeared before a U.S. magistrate in St. Paul. The name that Juarez gave the magistrate turned out to be a stolen identity. He is being held until a hearing this week that will determine his true identity.

His landlord told news reporters that he has been living in his current apartment for 8 years and always paid his rent in cash that he earned by working various odd jobs, including one as a newspaper delivery person for the Star Tribune.

Juarez appears to have passed a tenant background check using the stolen identity of Eleasor Morales Moreno. The real Eleasor Morales Moreno is actually a woman who died in 1992.

Pete Elliot, a U.S. marshal from Ohio’s northern district, says that there is not doubt that the man they have is Oscar Juarez because the fingerprints match up.

Elliott said that Juarez is known to have been in a number of different states since escaping prison. Elliot also noted that there were a number of personal details and information that helped them find Juarez in St. Paul.

The U.S. Marshal’s Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force cold-case unit was just launched in February 2015 and has already found and captured 5 escaped fugitive killers, some of whom have been on the run since the 1950s and 1960s.