Fugitive teen murder suspect arrested 

The teenage murder suspect whose Valentine’s Day escape from a juvenile detention facility on the Peninsula sparked a jail reform investigation was arrested Wednesday in Texas.

Seven months after Josue Raul Orozco fled by leaping over a wall of the Youth Services Center in the Eichler Highlands neighborhood near San Mateo, police arrested the 18-year-old in San Antonio just after 9 p.m, San Antonio police said.

Orozco was the youngest person ever charged as an adult with murder in San Mateo County when he allegedly shot and killed Redwood City resident Francisco Rodriguez, 21, in July 2005 at the age of 14. An alleged Sureño gang member, he had been using the fictitious name and birthdays of Jesus Contreras, born Dec. 27, 1989, according to authorities.

Orozco’s Feb. 14 escape came while he was awaiting trial for the homicide of Rodriguez. He allegedly used two other inmates to boost himself over a 15-foot wall, and then slipped through a hole in a fence thought to be cut by someone outside of the facility.

An investigation after the escape led to safety and structural improvements.

County officials were also held to answer to angry and frightened Eichler Highlands residents near the jail.

“This community is going to be an active part of making sure that there isn’t [another escape],” Eichler Highlands Neighborhood Association President Cary Weist said.

The arrest in San Antonio was made with information about Orozco’s whereabouts from the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office. After finding Orozco’s car outside a building in San Antonio, an officer walked by Orozco for a closer look at him after he exited the building, police said.

Three police units then responded and arrested Orozco without incident and booked him into jail, police said.

Officers discovered that Orozco had several active warrants from the Sheriff’s Office in Bexar County, where San Antonio is located, including a warrant for falsely identifying himself and two warrants for burglary with force, said Ino Badillo, a Bexar County sheriff’s deputy.

It is still unclear how quickly Orozco will return to the area because if he is charged in Texas, prosecutors here will have to wait for that trial to transpire before resuming their homicide case, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. If he is not charged in Texas, Orozco could return within one week, he said.

mrosenberg@sfexaminer.com

Josue Orozco timeline

July 2005: Francisco Rodriguez, 21, killed; Orozco, 14 at the time, arrested for homicide

Feb. 14: Orozco escapes from Youth Services Center

Feb. 18: Board of Supervisors calls for investigation into the escape

Feb. 19: Two 18-year-olds charged with aiding the escape from inside

June: Independent report released, outlining problems at the facility

Wednesday: Orozco arrested by San Antonio police

Sources: San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department, San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office

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Mike Rosenberg

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