Fugitive in deputy’s death arrested in Mexico

Likely Alfredo De Jesus Ascencio will be prosecuted in Mexico

Alfredo De Jesus Ascencio, left, is wanted on charges of criminally negligent homicide for the crash that killed Marion County Sheriff's Deputy Kelly Fredinburg in June 2007. (File photos)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – After nearly 10 years of being on the lam, authorities in Mexico arrested the man accused of killing a deputy with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office during a two-vehicle crash in June 2007.

And it’s likely Alfredo De Jesus Ascencio will be prosecuted in Mexico because he can’t be extradited to Oregon.

The case began June 16, 2007 when Marion County Deputy Kelly James Fredinburg died while responding to back up another agency.

With his lights and sirens on, Fredinburg was headed south on Highway 99E when an oncoming vehicle crossed the center line and collided with his patrol car, which caught fire. Fredinburg died at the scene.

Kelly Fredinburg:
— Worked for Polk County Sheriff’s Office
— Joined Marion County Sheriff’s Office in 2006
— First Marion County deputy to die on duty
— Survived by wife, children
— Part of Hwy 99E dedicated to him in 2012

De Jesus Ascencio, who was 20 at the time, was identified as the driver of the car that hit Fredinburg’s patrol car. A passenger in De Jesus Ascencio’s car, Oscar Amaya of Woodburn, also died. On August 3, 2007, he was charged with 2 counts of criminally negligent homicide.

Another passenger suffered minor injuries, and De Jesus Ascencio himself was seriously hurt. He was taken to the hospital and then later released. Officials believe he fled to Mexico before the grand jury indictment and the subsequent warrant could be filed.

Detectives with OSP learned De Jesus Ascencio was last known to be seen in Woodburn around August 9, 2007. Once he made it out of the country De Jesus Ascencio began living in Puacuaro, Michoacan, Mexico, officials said.

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Alfredo De Jesus Ascencio (file photo)

Under an agreement between the US and Mexico, the crimes for which De Jesus Ascencio was indicted in Oregon are not eligible for extradition from Mexico. It’s unlikely De Jesus Ascencio will ever be criminally prosecuted in Marion County for the 2007 crash.

But the Marion County District Attorney’s Office worked with the US Attorney’s Office in Oregon and Oregon Senator Ron Wyden and determined the DA’s Office would pursue the Mexican Federal Penal Code – “Article 4 prosecution.”

An Article 4 prosecution allows Mexican citizens who commit crimes in foreign territories to be prosecuted in Mexico.

Officials told KOIN 6 News the decision was made in 2009 “after it became apparent the only way prosecution would occur in Oregon is if the defendant voluntarily came back into the United States.”

In a statement, Oregon State Police said, “On January 20, 2017, Interpol confirmed the arrest to the FBI. He is currently being held in custody while the Article 4 process continues.”

On Saturday, officials acknowledged Senator Ron Wyden and his staff, the US Department of Justice, the Office of the Attorney General of Mexico, California Department of Justice Foreign Prosecution Unit and local investigators for their efforts to locate and capture De Jesus Ascencio.

Marion County Sheriff Jason Myers said through a statement:

“It has been nearly 10 years since the tragic loss of Deputy Kelly Fredinburg. While no one has ever given up hope that the individual responsible for this tragedy would be apprehended, it has been an emotional, trying and difficult journey to reach this point. I would like to thank the Marion County District Attorney’s Office and the Oregon State Police for their tenacity with this investigation. I also express my heartfelt condolences to the Fredinburg family, as this capture may bring relief, but also a renewed sense of loss. My sincere hope is for justice and healing as this case proceeds ahead.”