HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - After more than five years of searching across this country and beyond, Sheriff Richard Jones credits the capture of Alfredo Lopez Cruz to the hard work of a deputy who never let the case get cold.
"We never stopped looking for him," said Deputy Paul Newton of the Butler County Sheriff's Office.
As part of the fugitive unit in the Butler County Sheriff's Office, it's Newton's job to hunt criminals down and bring them back in handcuffs, Newton says that was his mission for Alfredo Lopez Cruz.
"When this happened, Sheriff come by the office, he said do what you've got to do to get this guy in custody," Newton said.
"We never stopped," said Sheriff Richard K. Jones.
Alfredo Cruz was Butler County's number one most wanted criminal, for the kidnap and rape of a 9-year-old Hamilton girl.
"It disrupted this community and caused lots of grief," Jones said.
Newton says it wasn't easy tracking Cruz down once he fled the U.S.
"Once he fled Hamilton, we know for a fact that he traveled north, we were tracking him over there for probably 6 to 8 months," Newton said.
He says it took close to a year just to get an arrest warrant in Mexico.
"People who knew him said he was from Oaxaca, Mexico," Newton said.
Wednesday morning deputies got word from the FBI of a fingerprint confirmation from authorities that Lopez Cruz is in custody in Mexico City.
"Ecstatic that he was picked up, that the little girl's finally going to get some justice, that's the main thing," Newton said.
Deputies are working with authorities in Mexico City to have Cruz extradited back to the U.S., but they say that process could take as long as two years.