ELKO — In a case that has spanned four-and-a-half years, Eduardo Estrada-Puentes has been extradited from Mexico to face charges of murdering Stephanie Gonzalez.
Estrada-Puentes is in Washoe County Jail, said Police Chief Ben Reed.
“We’re pretty elated that he’s here now,” said Lidia Cortes, the mother of Gonzalez.
Estrada-Puentes, 34, was brought to Reno Thursday by the FBI, before being transported to jail and booked on the Elko County warrant. Local police anticipate his transfer to Elko sometime next week, said Reed.
Cortes, who never thought she would see this day, explained to the Free Press that the family is doing well. Now, she has to deal with the waiting and dreads the “unknown.”
She said she is simultaneously happy and bittersweet because “he’s still alive and my daughter is gone.”
She intends to take it one day at a time to “get the justice we need for Stephanie.” Cortes said she wants people to understand, respect Stephanie’s three children, and “please keep the negativity to themselves.” She thanked all who have been supportive.
“We’re all angry,” she said.
This event gives her more peace of mind than closure.
“All I want to know is why?” she concluded.
Estrada-Puentes is accused of strangling his estranged wife, Stephanie Gonzalez, on June 25, 2011. Soon after Estrada-Puentes fled to Mexico.
With the help of the FBI and Mexican federal authorities, he was located and arrested in the State of Jalisco, said Reed. He spent the past year in custody in Mexico City, where he underwent extradition hearings.
Reed said Estrada-Puentes will be transferred to the Elko County Jail and then face charges in Justice Court.
“It will be in the hands of the judge going forward for all the procedures and setting the hearing dates and so forth,” said Reed.
According to Free Press files, Estrada-Puentes was developed as a suspect based on witness accounts that he was seen at 84 Garcia Lane with the victim that Saturday morning.
Gonzalez’s family reported her missing later that day when she didn’t return phone calls and hadn’t shown up for work. Her cellphone, keys and purse were still in her home.
Her body was found under a pile of clothes in a bedroom at the residence after officers obtained a search warrant on Sunday.
Estrada-Puentes’ warrant, issued in June of 2011, charges him with open murder. This can include first degree murder and all lesser offenses. The warrant has been in effect for four-and-a-half-years, said Reed.
“I would like to thank, and point out to the public, but thank the agencies involved. This was, is still, very good cooperation occurring here between law enforcement agencies at the local, state, federal and international level. All four of those had to come together in this case, at multiple points, in order to get where we are today,” said Reed.