Sentence was imposed Friday in Arlington in an 18-year-old murder case that led investigators to Guatemala in their search for the suspect, authorities said.
Ludvin Estrada, 41, was sentenced to 45 years in prison in the 1999 killing of Eva Veliz, 27, in the Radnor/Fort Myer Heights neighborhood of Arlington, the police said.
The police said the victim’s body was found May 11, 1999, at about 4:30 p.m. in the trunk of a vehicle parked in the 1300 block of N. Pierce Street.
Veliz and Estrada had been out dancing the evening before and were seen leaving together at 2:45 a.m. on the day Veliz died, the police said.
At some point, the police said, an argument broke out and the victim was strangled in what Deputy Police Chief Daniel J. Murray called “a senseless act of domestic violence.”
Estrada “immediately fled to Guatemala,” the police said.
A warrant was issued, but efforts to find him in Guatemala were unsuccessful, according to police.
About five years ago, the case was assigned to the police cold case unit. Additional evidence was found from the crime scene and from laboratory results that confirmed the suspect’s involvement, the police said.
In addition to Arlington police, the State Department, the Justice Department and the U.S. Marshals Service took part in the effort to investigate the matter and to bring the suspect back to the United States, authorities said. Law enforcement in Guatemala was also credited with a role.
The suspect was extradited to this country last September.
The sentence was imposed in Arlington Circuit Court by Judge Daniel Fiore. It was the maximum permitted by a plea agreement, the police said.
In a statement issued Monday, the sentence was described by Arlington commonwealth’s attorney Theo Stamos as the culmination of “years of dogged work and perseverance.”
The case was “never a whodunit,” but the suspect’s flight made the investigation “much more complex,” Stamos said.
She gave particular credit to police detective Rosa Ortiz, who “never, ever forgot about our victim.”