Man Wanted in Connection With Carson Killing, Girl's Abduction Arrested


Man Wanted in Connection With Carson Killing, Girl's Abduction Arrested

CARSON (CNS) - A man wanted in connection with a killing in Carson in April and who was believed to be traveling with a 15-year-old girl and her mother was arrested in Mexico, returned to the U.S. and is in custody this morning.

Roman Cerratos, 39, was located Thursday and escorted by FBI agents from Guadalajara to Los Angeles on Friday, according to FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.

Cerratos was turned over to Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives and booked for the slaying of 32-year-old Jeffrey Appel, the sheriff's department said.

A $10,000 reward was being offered for information leading to the safe recovery of the 15-year-old girl whose mother is also a suspect in the killing of Appel.

Investigators said Alora Benitez was last seen April 17 in Torrance with her mother, 40-year-old Maricela Mercado, and Cerratos.

Detectives said they were concerned for Alora's safety because of the “extreme violence” used to kill Appel, whose body was found at 6:30 a.m. April 16 in his Audi parked in the 400 block of East Carson Plaza Drive. He had been shot multiple times in the neck and upper body, according to coroner's records.

After an Amber Alert was issued for the teen, a white BMW sedan used by the suspects was recovered in San Diego, in the area of San Ysidro, a major border crossing.

Mercado shares custody of her daughter with the girl's father, who authorities said had no involvement in the homicide.

The girl and her mother are still being sought, Eimiller said.


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