WESLACO — After more than 23 years, a murder suspect was formally charged for his role in the deaths of Winter Texans Evan and Wilda Squires.
With a bowed head and wearing a shackles and a bright yellow jumpsuit, Arturo Almaguer stood before Weslaco Municipal Judge Carlos Garza who formally charged him for his role in the decades-old case.
Garza set Almaguer’s bond at $1 million on one count of capital murder, one count of murder and one count of burglary with intent to commit other felonies.
Almaguer is accused of fatally shooting the Squires during a botched robbery on Nov. 13, 1988 at the couple’s trailer home.
The Squires were winter Texans from Canada’s Manitoba province. They lived on Neepawa Street at the Magic Valley RV Park in Weslaco.
After an in-depth investigation and a manhunt, police investigators had not been able to find any suspects in the case, said police spokesman J.P. Rodriguez.
“The murder shocked the community and it became the catalyst for the creation of our Crime Stoppers program,” Rodriguez said.
Since 1988, Crime Stoppers has been responsible for 881 arrests and 878 cases solved, Rodriguez said, adding that the one case that had not been solved was the Squire’s murder.
The big break came in early January, when investigators were notified that a DNA sample that had been collected at the crime scene matched a sample in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).
The recent sample was collected by authorities in Michigan, where Almaguer had been arrested in a burglary and drug charge in Kent County, records show.
“This is a vindication for this department,” said Interim Police Chief Michael Kelly. “Some people think that it’s like that CSI show where you can solve a crime in an hour. In real life, it’s the work of dedicated officers who find clues and are methodical in their work.”
Ildefonso Ortiz covers law enforcement and general assignments for The Monitor. He can be reached at Iortiz@themonitor.com and at 956-683-4437.