MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Jamaican national wanted for the murder of his elderly caregiver in Miami-Dade nearly two and a half years ago has been captured in Connecticut.
Danei Washington Gordon, 21, was picked up by U.S. Marshals and City of Hartford Police officers.
Gordon allegedly killed his 73-year old Neville Smith by beating him with a metal cooking pot in April, 2013. Miami-Dade detectives determined that Gordon had been staying in the home with Smith about the time the murder occurred.
Gordon is a former Miramar High School student. Since coming to Miami legally from Jamaica, Gordon and his mother had been living with Smith.
U.S. Marshal Service Senior Inspector and spokesman Barry Golden told CBS4's Peter D'Oench that the case was a top priority.
"In cases like this, a heinous crime, you never give up working. No matter where you go and no matter what state you have run to, we are going to keep working to find you," he said. "The feeling is great after capturing a suspect who committed this heinous crime and being able to bring him back to Miami. It also brings a lot of closure to the family, to track this person down, arrest him and bring him back to Miami where he will stand trial."
Smith's daughter, Joi Crockett, told D'Oench she's grateful for the persistence of law enforcement.
"I'm relieved," she said. "Maybe now we'll be able to get answers to questions as to why all of this happened. I loved my dad with all of my heart. I am always going to love my dad. I can't imagine what would make anyone do something like that to him. A senior citizen, I mean really. I'm very appreciative. I'm a strong believer in God. I just had faith. I just believed that justice would prevail. It just makes me feel good that my dad was not forgotten, that what happened was not forgotten. It just makes me feel good and shows that just because time has elapsed, it doesn't mean a case will die. They worked continuously to solve this and try to bring us closure for the family who suffers the most at this point."
"My dad was everything," she added. "He was a family man in general. I just recently had another child and he'll never know his grandfather. I have my older son who I constantly try to remind him who is grandfather is so he will not forget him."
According to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald, the day of the incident, Smith allegedly confronted Gordon about his unruly behavior and drug use. He reportedly threatened to have him deported. Gordon allegedly grew angry and beat Smith to death.
In July, 2013 an arrest warrant was issued for Gordon, charging him with second degree murder with a deadly weapon. But he was nowhere to be found.
Nearly a year later, Miami-Dade detectives asked for assistance from the U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force. Investigative leads were sent to Jamaica, to Orlando and most recently to Hartford.
Within the last week, the U.S. Marshals fugitive investigation determined that Gordon was hiding in the Hartford area. Marshals began conducting surveillance on the north side of Hartford, which has a large Jamaican population.
"That's why we believed he was hiding out in this area," said Golden. "It was 2 p.m. last Wednesday when he was spotted riding a bicycle, someone resembling Gordon. So he (the deputy marshal) pulled up next to him and behold, Mr. Gordon had a special note tattoo on his right hand and the deputy marshal was looking for that. He followed him for two miles and called Hartford Police."
Gordon was then taken into custody.
"Mr. Gordon started giving us a fake name and we had no fingerprints since he came from Jamaica," said Golden. "So we began identifying all the tattoos on his body and we knew he had certain tattoos and then we discovered he had the tattoo of Danei for his first name on his body. This helps us out when we have something special like this and tattoos on their body. This is a case in point. He had no fingerprints but he had a lot of tattoos on his body. We checked and the tattoos were a match."
Gordon was taken to the Hartford Correctional Facility where is awaiting extradition to Miami.
CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed to this report.
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