Fugitive Charged in 1995 Houston Murder Extradited from Mexico

Fugitive Charged in 1995 Houston Murder Extradited from Mexico
Jose Luis Rios

A fugitive charged with murder in connection to a 1995 shooting in Houston has been successfully extradited from Mexico, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced.

Jose Luis Rios, 47, had been on the run for almost 28 years after he and his accomplice, Jorge Mendez, fled the country following a shooting incident at River Terrace Park in Channelview. The attack occurred on December 23, 1995, resulting in the death of 19-year-old Kristie Martin, a former Galena Park High School cheerleader, and the injury of another woman.

Harris County law enforcement, in collaboration with the FBI, worked diligently to track down and apprehend Rios. Acting Special Agent in Charge David Martinez of the FBI Houston Field Office commended the joint efforts, stating, “The FBI has a very long memory, and the FBI has a very long reach.”

Rios and Mendez, both local gang members, approached a group of people in the park in a red truck. After calling the group over, Rios fired at least five shots, fatally striking Martin and injuring another woman. The suspects fled the scene and later escaped to Mexico.

The FBI’s global reach and international partnerships led to Rios’ arrest in Mexico in August. Mexican authorities successfully extradited him to the United States, where he landed in Houston late Wednesday.

Kim Bryant, head of the DA’s Fugitive Apprehension Section, acknowledged the FBI Houston’s Violent Crimes Task Force and the FBI’s Mexico City Legal Attaché Office for their crucial role in bringing Rios to justice.

Rios, now facing the possibility of life in prison if convicted of murder, is expected to appear in a Harris County courtroom. The case, featured on television shows such as America’s Most Wanted and Unsolved Mysteries, has spanned almost three decades. Jorge Mendez, the accomplice, was arrested in Mexico in 2001 and sentenced to 31 years in prison after a trial there.

Acting Special Agent in Charge Martinez concluded, “To the victims and their families, you don’t forget, and neither do we.”