Fugitive Captured in Oklahoma, On the Run for Three Years

Kingfisher County (OK) Jail Booking Photo
Jose Carmen Rivera-Leija

 The Yuma County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with the US Marshals Colorado Violent Offender Task Force, has captured a fugitive in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. Jose Carmen Rivera-Leija, also known as Anselmo Perales, has been avoiding capture for slightly more than three years in connection with the 2012 forceful rape of a 14-year-old girl at a party in Yuma County.

On Monday, July 2oth at approximately 6 PM (CT) members of a US Marshals led fugitive task force based out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma conducted an operation at a residence near Kingfisher, Oklahoma. The operation was based upon leads that were developed by the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office and US Marshals Colorado Violent Offender Task Force after several combined years of investigation, as well as some renewed leads that were gathered during an operation the task force led in the Holyoke area last week.

Sheriff Chad Day commented, “This capture is another example of a case where on the outside, it seems nothing is being done towards a disposition, but behind the scenes and after an extended effort, a lead is received or developed that allows the next proper step in the judicial process to occur.  Many cases take much longer than we would prefer, but this should be one that reminds our community of the Sheriff’s Office commitment to diligent and skilled law enforcement work.”

The Yuma County Sheriff’s Office joined as a member agency to the Colorado Violent Offender task force in September of last year (2014). That relationship was pursued by Undersheriff Adam Wills.  “This particular case, this fugitive, was the primary catalyst for joining the task force and forming our partnership with the Marshals Office,” says the Undersheriff. “Deputies had been following dead-end leads for 2 ½ years and it was time to add some fuel to the fire; reinvigorate our search. The resources, knowledge, and experience that the US Marshals bring to the table was exactly the way to do that.”

Although this is the first fugitive that was physically captured out-of-state by the US Marshals since beginning their partnership, there have been several other fugitives captured based on the Sheriff’s Office’s reinvigorated fugitive program, and there have been new leads developed on other higher profile fugitives as a result of the Marshals resources. Sheriff Day says that he is pleased with the progress being made in this area of the office.

“We have an obligation, not just legally, but ethically, to go beyond simply investigating criminal cases. We also bring some justice to our community by bringing back those who flee our county to avoid prosecution,” says Sheriff Day. “This should send a strong message to those who would commit illegal acts in our community that we will not allow them to victimize our citizens, and simply run away from their responsibility to judicial process. I am hopeful that Rivera-Leija’s capture will allow the victim and her family some small opportunity to heal as prosecution finally moves forward in this case after such a long wait.”

Rivera-Leija is currently in custody at the Kingfisher County Jail, Oklahoma and will be held without bail until he is extradited back to Yuma County.