Virginia cops catch teens accused of beating runaway
Two teens who allegedly beat a young runaway from California with a golf club and left her to die on Independence Pass in October were arrested in Virginia on Wednesday.Jaime Castro, 17, of Aspen, and Cinthia Romero, 16, of Bakersfield, Calif., will face first-degree attempted homicide charges, said Joe DiSalvo, chief of investigations at the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office. The suspects, who will likely be charged as adults, were each being held last night on $100,000 bond.”We had a phone call from a citizen in that area who basically told us [he] thought these were the people who were wanted in Pitkin County,” DiSalvo said. The citizen had been living with Castro and Romero.Local authorities contacted Virginia police, who apprehended the suspects without incident in the town of Newport News, DiSalvo said.On the night of Oct. 9, Castro, Romero and the girl, who is also from Bakersfield, allegedly drove seven miles up Independence Pass in a GMC Jimmy sport utility vehicle that belonged to Castro’s mother. Romero and the victim apparently knew each other and may have traveled to Aspen together. Investigators have not released a motive, but the suspects allegedly savagely beat the 16-year-old and then drove off. Authorities later seized the SUV.The girl was found by a passing motorist as she crawled along Highway 82, suffering from what investigators described as “life-threatening” injuries. She was hospitalized for more than two weeks in Grand Junction with head injuries and a broken arm.Tips poured into investigators, who originally were searching for two men in the belief that the victim had rebuffed their sexual advances before the assault. The victim’s memories gradually improved, leading authorities to search for the teens. The suspects’ arrest warrants were put into a national police database.”I knew it would happen eventually,” DiSalvo said. “It was just a matter of time – that’s what we’ve been saying the whole time.”Romero and Castro will face extradition proceedings, he said.”They’ll go before a judge, I don’t know when that’s going to happen, and they will be told they’re going to be extradited to Pitkin County,” DiSalvo said. “They have the option to either fight extradition or just sign a waiver and go with it.”Investigators called their counterparts in California with the news.”We’ve made a call to the people involved in Bakersfield and they’re going to get word to the victim,” DiSalvo said.”We’ve made a call to the people involved in Bakersfield and they’re going to get word to the victim,” DiSalvo said.
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