Monday, January 30, 2012

Fugitive US Citizen, 29, in Belize Returned to US for Prosecution

Larene Eleanor Austin, 29, a US citizen wanted for a June 2010 homicide in the city of Palmdale, CA was returned to the US earlier today (January 30) today following her arrest in Belize on January 25.

Austin allegedly murdered Lanell Barsock on June 16, 2010, and reported the murder to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in Palmdale. Initially, though, Austin attempted to frame the victim’s boyfriend for the murder.

After further investigation by homicide detectives with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASO), the focus of the investigation shifted to Austin as the main suspect in the homicide. A warrant charging Austin with one count of murder was subsequent issued.

When LASO determined that Austin had fled California, detectives requested assistance from the Los Angeles Fugitive Task Force, and publicized the case on the television program, "America’s Most Wanted (AMW)."

COMMENT: After AMW aired the story concerning Austin's complicity in the homicide, a tip was received that Austin was living in Belize. As a result, a federal warrant charging Austin with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution (UFAP) was filed in US District Court in Los Angeles on December 29th, 2011.

The FBI, in concert with Belizean police, later arrested Austin in the Toledo District of Belize. She was returned to the US under FBI escort today and will soon be arraigned in LA for the homicide.

The return of Austin was funded by the US' "Project Welcome Home,” which provides funding to assist in the transportation of federal fugitives to the US, where the repatriation by the host country occurs through deportation or extradition.

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