A fugitive couple who touched off an international manhunt have been captured in Mexico and their five missing and endangered children have been rescued, the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) announced today.
On Feb. 15, the USMS elevated the couple to its notorious 15 Most Wanted list, marking the first time the agency has included a couple on the list, which draws attention to some of the country’s most dangerous and high-profile fugitives.
Edgar Salvador Casian-Garcia, 34, and his girlfriend, Araceli Medina, 38, from Franklin County, Washington, have been charged with the murder of a child and multiple counts of child sex abuse. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) teamed up with the marshals to help search for the five missing children, who have been returned to the U.S. and placed in protective custody.
“We are so thankful that all five missing children have been rescued safely,” said John Bischoff, who oversees the Missing Children Division at NCMEC. “The crimes that Araceli Medina and Edgar Casian-Garcia are charged with are heinous and we commend the unwavering dedication of law enforcement. This successful rescue is a testament to the critical importance of collaboration and community involvement in safeguarding our most vulnerable population.”
NCMEC has chosen to withhold the names of the children and remove their photos due to the sensitive nature of this case. The names were made public during the international search, and we now ask the media to exercise the same sensitivity for this case.
Relatives tell NCMEC they are relieved and grateful that the children have been found and are asking the media to please respect their privacy at this time.
U.S. marshals in the Eastern District of Washington had developed information that placed the fugitive couple in Mexico. Medina and Casian-Garcia remain in the custody of authorities in Mexico pending extradition proceedings
Fugitives on the marshals’ 15 Most Wanted list tend to be career criminals with histories of violence and pose a significant threat to public safety. Generally, they’re considered the “worst of the worst” and can include murderers, sex offenders, major drug kingpins, organized crime figures and individuals wanted for high-profile financial crimes. Since the program began in 1983, more than 250 fugitive cases on this list have been closed.
Previous UPDATE (2-15-2023):
For the first time, the U.S. Marshals Service elevates a couple to its notorious 15 Most Wanted List.
“Edgar Salvador Casian-Garcia and Araceli Medina are accused of the most heinous crimes against the most vulnerable victims – their own children,” said U.S. Marshals Service Director Ronald L. Davis. “The Marshals Service and our partner agencies are committed to finding them and bringing them to justice. The best thing either of them can do at this point is turn themselves in to law enforcement. I strongly encourage anyone with any information as to their whereabouts to contact us as soon as possible.”
The U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted fugitive program draws attention to some of the country’s most dangerous and high-profile fugitives. These fugitives tend to be career criminals with histories of violence, and they pose a significant threat to public safety. Generally, these fugitives are considered the “worst of the worst” and can include murderers, sex offenders, major drug kingpins, organized crime figures and individuals wanted for high-profile financial crimes. Since the program began in 1983, more than 250 fugitive cases on this list have been closed.
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Casian-Garcia or Medina is urged to contact the U.S. Marshals Service at 1-877-WANTED2 or use the USMS Tips App.
Original blog post (2-09-2023):
The discovery of two young Pasco, Washington girls abandoned at a gas station in Tijuana, Mexico more than two years ago has touched off an international manhunt for their father and stepmother on murder, child abuse and rape charges.
The girls, 8 and 3, were taken into child protective custody in Mexico, and it would be six months before investigators in Washington were told what had happened and got involved in the case. Child Protective Services in Washington was familiar with the family and became alarmed because they knew that the girls had a 7-year-old brother. Where was Edgar Casian Jr.?
Edgar Jr.’s two abandoned sisters showed signs of severe physical and sexual abuse. The eldest girl told police they’d been subjected to unimaginable torture and that she’d been raped while living in Washington.
Pasco police began investigating and went to the apartment where the three siblings lived with their biological father, Edgar Salvador Casian-Garcia, 34, and their stepmother, Araceli Medina, 38. According to police, the couple said that Edgar Jr. was staying with his two sisters in California, with their biological mother.
By the time police discovered they were lying, the couple had fled to Mexico.
Pasco police charged the couple in a warrant with four counts of first-degree rape and three counts of first-degree assault of a child. When the couple left the country, Medina’s four biological children were with them as part of a scheduled custody visitation. Police say they took her four children along with the infant son they had together.
Wanted: Araceli Medina, 38, and Edgar Salvador Cason-Garcia, 34
The U.S. Marshals Service joined the search and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) is helping law-enforcement look for the missing couple and the five children.
While the international search was underway, there were still no answers about what happened to Edgar Jr. Then, on Feb. 5, 2022, Pasco police finally got a big break. Hikers looking for animal bones in rural Benton County, Washington, about 15-20 minutes from the couple’s home, found some bones they believed to be human. Dental records confirmed they were Edgar Jr.’s remains, police said.
Pasco police charged Casian-Garcia and Medina in another warrant with aggravated first-degree murder.
“This is the worst case I’ve come across in nine years as a detective,” Detective Jon Davis said of the abuse suffered by the three siblings, including Edgar, who was tortured to death. “What we’ve seen from this investigation, they have no problem hurting children – to outright murder.”
The marshals believe the couple may be hiding in the cities of Sinaloa or Nayarit in Mexico, or in Canada or, frankly, could be hiding anywhere by now. While Medina’s four children are now listed as missing from their father’s home in Kennewick, Washington, all five children with the couple are believed to be in danger.
Police and the marshals tell NCMEC they fear for the safety and well-being of Medina’s four children, ages 4 to 14, and the couple’s infant son, who, astonishingly, was given the same name, Edgar, as his murdered half-brother. Law enforcement says it needs the public’s help to find the couple.
The marshals have elevated their fugitive investigation for the couple to major case status and are offering a reward of up to $10,000 – each – for information leading to the arrest of Casian-Garcia and Medina.
Medina’s sister, Yesina Ramirez, spoke to NCMEC about the children and begged the couple to bring the children home.
“All of the pain that you guys are causing, you guys can still do something right,” said Ramirez, the maternal aunt of the four children. “And turn these kids in, bring them back home safe and sound.”
If you have any information, please call the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678), the U.S. Marshals at 1-800-336-0102 or Detective Davis at 1-509-544-4156.
The biological mother of Edgar Jr., Maria Quintero, says finding the couple will not bring back her son but is critical.
“It’s not going to bring him back,” said Quintero. “But at least we can save the other kids now.”