Crime

He’s accused of killing his mom. After 6 months on the lam, he’s back in the Tri-Cities

A 33-year-old Prosser man is back in Pasco, 12 days after he turned himself in at the United States-Mexico border for allegedly killing his mother.

Clemente Rodriguez Torres had been in a San Diego County jail since his Sept. 19 arrest on the murder warrant.

He was released from that California facility early Tuesday morning, according to online records.

Rodriguez Torres then was flown by private contractor to the Tri-Cities, and was booked into the Franklin County jail later Tuesday morning, Sheriff Jim Raymond told the Tri-City Herald.

He is being held on $1 million bail.

Rodriguez Torres is expected to make his first appearance Wednesday in Franklin County Superior Court in the death of his mother, Estela Torres Rodriguez.

Both Rodriguez Torres and his father, Tiburcio Larios Rodriguez, are charged with first-degree murder — meaning they acted with premeditated intent.

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Estela Torres Rodrigues has been missing since the morning of March 28. Her husband, Tiburcio Larios Rodriguez, and son Clemente Rodriguez Torres are charged in Franklin County with first-degree murder.

The 54-year-old grandmother has not been seen since the morning of March 28.

Haven’t found her body

Investigators have said she likely was killed inside the house at 140 Orchard Road, just north of Pasco. The charges are based on three large blood stains discovered on the living room carpet, along with other evidence including her clothes and jewelry tossed into the garbage.

They believe her body was left somewhere in north Franklin County, possibly around the Connell area, but have been unable to find her after numerous searches on the ground and by air.

Her abandoned SUV was located the following week at a Highway 395 rest stop.

Estela and her husband of 30 years separated in February, but family members say he wanted to reunite and she refused.

Drone Missing Home
Estela Torres Rodriguez, 54, is believed to have been killed inside this Franklin County home in late March. Bob Brawdy Tri-City Herald

Prosecutors say Estela was home alone when her husband and son confronted her, killed her and then cleaned up.

Sheriff Raymond said shortly after the crime that his office believed both men fled to Mexico.

Father is still missing

Investigators have not tracked down Larios Rodriguez, 63.

However, Raymond said the federal government is taking steps to get a warrant for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution and working with the Mexican government on finding the father.

His son, Rodriguez Torres, was arrested two weeks ago when he crossed over the border from Mexico into the United States, and acknowledged having an arrest warrant out of Washington state.

He reportedly was encouraged by family members to surrender after being on the run for nearly six months.

Then, at a Sept. 23 hearing before a San Diego County judge, Rodriguez Torres agreed to his extradition. That left the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office to make transportation arrangements for his return.

Family, investigators and prosecutors are hopeful that Rodriguez Torres will give some details on the location of both his father and mother.

Raymond said Tuesday that Rodriguez Torres has not yet talked with the detective about the case since he doesn’t have an attorney.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of either Estela Torres Rodriguez or the remaining wanted suspect is asked to call Franklin County sheriff’s Detective Steve Warren at 509-545-5424.

Call 911 if it is an emergency.

Kristin M. Kraemer covers the judicial system and crime issues for the Tri-City Herald. She has been a journalist for more than 20 years in Washington and California.
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