Los Angeles

Detective's Facebook Sleuthing Ends Fugitive's 12 Years on Run

At the time he was charged with the crimes, he was second in command of a gang that claimed an area of northeast Los Angeles, officials say

A fugitive wanted for murder on the lam for more than a decade was captured in Riverside, California, after police recognized photos of him on Facebook, federal authorities said Friday.

Eduardo Rodriguez, 35, was taken into custody about 6:30 p.m. Thursday at his home in the 3500 block of Farnham Place, Laura Vega of the U.S. Marshals Service said. He had been living under an assumed identity for at least five years and was working as a carpenter in Riverside.

Rodriguez, also known as Juan Carlos Campos Gamino, disappeared soon after he was indicted in 2003 on four counts of homicide and two counts of attempted homicide. The Los Angeles Police Department listed him as one of its most wanted fugitives.

Last year, after the LAPD case went cold, a Glendale police detective on light duty because of an injury began monitoring the Facebook pages of Rodriguez's family members and friends, Vega said. The detective recognized him in photos with a woman.

Glendale police tracked down the identity of the woman, who turned out to be Rodriguez's fiancee, and U.S. marshals began surveilling the woman's home. He was taken into custody Thursday evening, Vega said.

"Everyone was pointing at him and told him to put his hands up," neighbor Nancy Vallejo said. "That's when we noticed, oh my gosh that's our neighbor."

Rodriguez's fiancee told NBC4 on Friday she had no idea he was wanted for multiple homicides, and the couple's neighbors said he seemed like a normal father of three children. Additional details about the children were not immediately available.

"He looks like a really nice person," neighbor Francisca Garivay said. "He is really nice to us."

"He didn't seem like that type of guy," another neighbor said. "He seemed like a hard working guy."

His fiancee also told NBC4 Rodriguez would sometimes go to Mexico, which investigators also suspected.

At the time Rodriguez was charged with the crimes, he was second in command of the Toonerville criminal street gang under Timothy McGhee, Vega said.

Officials said the gang, previously led by McGhee, claimed an area of narcotics distribution around Los Feliz Boulevard between San Fernando Road and the Los Angeles River in Atwater Village and Glendale.

McGhee, who is now behind bars, is suspected of committing at least 12 murders in the years between 1997 and 2001, and was convicted in 2007 of three murders, Vega said. McGhee was sentenced to death and multiple, consecutive life sentences in January 2009.

Rodriguez was taken to Los Angeles for booking, and will be scheduled for arraignment later, officials said. Details of Rodriguez's alleged crimes were not immediately available.

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