The suspect in a 1996 Dayton murder has been arrested in Mexico and could be returned to face trial on murder and assault charges in Columbia County in as little as two months.
Benjamin Orozco, now 41, was detained in San Francisco, Nayarit, Mexico and is being held on a provisional warrant.
Orozco, a U.S. citizen, is charged with second-degree murder for the July 7, 1996, murder of Lance Terry and first-degree assault for the shooting and wounding of David Eaton.
Columbia County Sheriff Rocky Miller and Prosecutor Rea Culwell have worked with the FBI to locate Orozco, who is believed to have fled Columbia County immediately after the incident and the U.S. some time after that.
Lance Terry and David Eaton were driving in downtown Dayton when Orozco and another man flagged them down, according to a statement from the prosecutor. Words were exchanged and Terry reportedly got out of the car. Orozco drew a gun and shot him.
When David Eaton got out to help Terry, he too was shot but not killed. He suffered gunshot wounds to his hand and knee.
Terry was a Kennewick native living in Dayton.
The case was Dayton’s first murder in about 20 years. Terry had worked in logging, landscaping and designing irrigation systems. At the time of his death, he had recently attended Northwest Lineman School in Meridian, Idaho.
Born in Kennewick, he was buried at the Dayton City Cemetery.