MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Nearly 40 years after escaping prison, an Ohio man convicted of murder has been caught in St. Paul, according to the U.S. Marshal's Service.
On June 24, 1975, Oscar Juarez -- also known as Eleasor Morales Moreno -- was sentenced to life in prison for aggravated murder following the shooting death of a man in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio.
Juarez, however, escaped from the Marion Correctional Institution on April 2, 1978, after sawing through his prison bars and cutting through the north fence of the prison. He had placed a dummy in his bed and covered it with blankets to cover his escape.
After hiding for decades and using multiple fictitious identities, the U.S. Marshals Office says his luck ran out Thursday night when he was arrested at an apartment on 382 Pierce Street in St. Paul.
"This was one of our oldest cases that many believed to be impossible to solve," Ohio Adult Parole Authority Regional Director Todd Ishee said. "Juarez was one of our most sought after fugitives due to the measures he took to escape and evade capture and his serving of a life sentence."
The arrest was credited to information provided by the Cleveland U.S. Marshals Cold Case Unit.
"Great team work, perseverance and determination led to the arrest of one of Ohio's Most Wanted Escaped Murderers," U.S. Marshal Pete Elliot said. "We will continue to work on catching the uncatchable. What our investigators have accomplished in the first eight months is outstanding and I am extremely proud of them."
A Look Into Juarez's Life
The owner of the apartment Juarez was found in, Seth Ludwig, said Juarez had been living there for eight years under a false name. He said he never had any troubles with Juarez, who always paid his rent on time and mostly kept to himself.
Ludwig showed WCCO's cameras inside the apartment where Juarez lived alone.
Inside the apartment, there were several locks on the front door and pieces of cloth over the windows.
"He has a lot of older things. He didn't seem to buy anything new," Ludwig said.
Other neighbors described Juarez as a friendly man who always helped others.
"He helped my dad dig his car out of the snow," neighbor Lex Luchka said.
Even the woman who delivered Juarez's mail, Paula Petersen, described him as a very nice and friendly man who helped others with car trouble.
"He was usually working on his cars and helping other people with their cars," Petersen said.
Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Chris Clifford said several aliases and a frugal lifestyle helped Juarez stay under the radar, even when he was arrested seven other times over the decades.
"You can blend in and disappear because a lot of our investigative techniques are based on names and dates of birth, so if you start changing that it is harder for us to find you," Clifford said.
Clifford said Juarez worked as a newspaper delivery man, and he didn't have many bills other than basic utilities.
"This is the longest I have ever heard somebody on the run," Clifford said about fugitives captured in Minnesota.
Clifford said authorities are investigating if it appears Juarez committed any violent crimes while in Minnesota.
Authorities say Juarez didn't say a word when he was arrested.
Juarez's next court hearing is set for Tuesday at 10 a.m. If convicted, Juarez will serve time for fleeing prison and crossing states lines after finishing his murder sentence first.
Investigators are still trying to figure out where Juarez is originally from or if any family members helped him.
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