A murder suspect who was the subject of a massive manhunt in the Midwest was taken into custody Wednesday, after a quadruple homicide in Kansas and another slaying in Missouri.
Pablo Antonio Serrano-Vitorino, a Mexican national who was in the country illegally, was arrested early Wednesday morning in Montgomery County, Mo., the Missouri State Highway Patrol said in a news release. He has been charged in connection to five deaths across two states.
Missouri Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Scott White told reporters that Serrano-Vitorino was found in a ditch near the intersection of Highway 19 and Interstate 70. A rifle was recovered, White said, but Serrano-Vitorino was taken into custody without incident.
“He looked exhausted,” Highway Patrol Sgt. James Hedrick told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The search for Serrano-Vitorino began after four men were killed in Kansas City, Kan., late Monday night. The victims were identified as Jeremy Waters, Michael Capps, Clint Harter and Austin Harter.
Clint Harter’s wife, Ruth, told KSHB that the couple was approaching their eighth wedding anniversary, and that they are expecting another child.
“I will keep his memory alive,” she said. “My girls will know who their dad was, and how much he loved them.”
Officer Cameron Morgan told The Washington Post that authorities who arrived on the scene late Monday night found one man in the front yard of a home. That man had been shot, but was still alive.
There was another victim on the home’s porch, Morgan said, and two more inside the home. The man the porch, who had called 911, died on the scene. The two inside the home were both deceased.
The victim discovered in the front yard was rushed to a hospital, but he also died, authorities said.
Serrano-Vitorino’s name was listed as Pablo Serrano in a news release from Kansas City, Kan., police. It was not clear which version was correct.
Assistant District Attorney Chris Schneider said Serrano-Vitorino is facing four counts of first-degree murder in Wyandotte County, Kan.
After the Kansas shooting, another homicide was reported in Missouri early Tuesday morning, authorities said. That victim was identified as 49-year-old Randy J. Nordman, according to a highway patrol release.
Serrano-Vitorino is charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and first-degree burglary in Missouri, according to online records.
U.S. immigration officials said Serrano-Vitorino was in the country illegally. He was deported from the United States 12 years ago, the Associated Press reported, but later illegally reentered the country.
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) previously deported Pablo Serrano-Vitorino, an illegal alien from Mexico, in April 2004, based on final orders of removal from a federal immigration judge,” ICE spokesman Gail Montenegro told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Mr. Serrano-Vitorino illegally re-entered the United States on an unknown date.”
A federal immigration judge ordered Serrano-Vitorino deported in absentia in 2002, said ICE press secretary Gillian Christensen. In 2003, he was convicted of a felony in California and sentenced to prison, where ICE officers encountered him.
In 2004, he was deported to Mexico, but at some point, illegally reentered the country.
Serrano-Vitorino’s name did pop up in criminal proceedings before this week, Christensen said. In 2014, he was convicted of a DUI in Kansas, however, according to an initial review of ICE records, it doesn’t appear that the agency was notified at the time, she said.
And in June 2015, he was arrested in Kansas City, Kan., for domestic assault, according to Christensen. ICE was notified, but agents weren’t able to interview Serrano-Vitorino because he was released from police custody after being processed.
Then, in September 2015, he was fingerprinted at Overland Park Municipal Court. ICE received an electronic notification about that, said Christensen, but the detainer went to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office. He wasn’t in the sheriff’s office custody, she said, he was paying a fine at the court.
That meant that neither the sheriff’s office nor ICE could act on the detainer, she said.
This story has been updated.