DUNCAN, OK (The Duncan Banner) – Three years and a few months after the murder of Linda Salazar, the man accused of her slaying is in custody of the Stephens County Sheriff’s Office.
Baltazar Sanchez-Garcia, an “illegal immigrant” identified as the main suspect in the death of 20-year-old Salazar in 2016, faces charges of murder in the first degree with deliberate intent. He returns to Duncan, Oklahoma after years of legal work seeking extradition from Mexico back to the United States, according to Stephens County Sheriff Wayne McKinney.
The announcement came during press conference at 1 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, with McKinney and Stephens County District Attorney Jason Hicks at the Sheriff’s Office. McKinney said Sanchez-Garcia was returned Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, in Oklahoma City to Stephens County deputies.
“Last evening, our investigators interviewed Mr. Baltazar and he has confessed to the murder of Linda,” McKinney said.
Both Hicks and McKinney said the process of having Sanchez-Garcia returned was “frustrating.”
“It was pretty frustrating,” Hicks said. “I know the victim’s family was extremely frustrated with the time frame. We have a murder that occurred in November of 2016, we’re three years and a few months after that, waiting just for somebody to get back to the United States so we can bring them through our justice system.”
Hicks said in this specific case, the death penalty won’t be an option.
“Involved in all of this, one of the things that is required is that we sign a document stating we’ll take the death penalty off the table, so this will not be a death penalty case,” Hicks said. “If we would not have done that, the Mexican government would not have arrested him and sent him back to the United States, so that is one punishment that is off the table…It will either be life or life without parole that we have to seek in this particular case.”
McKinney said it was tough on his team, as well as the Marshal’s Service who assisted, but they didn’t “give up.”
“It was tough on our investigators and tough on the Marshal’s Service, who was an extremely big help,” McKinney said. “They located him deep in Mexico along with Mexican authorities. One thing, we had to get him located for sure and we were certain that he entered Mexico but we didn’t exactly know where he went.”
Hicks said through the waiting process, their hands were tied and they were basically “at the mercy” of the Mexican Government.
Original reports show Salazar was reported missing Nov. 6, 2016, to Marlow Police Department. One day after, Salazar was found “brutally murdered” in northwestern Stephens County at Sanchez-Garcia’s residence, located near the intersection of McKinley Road and Shamrock Road within the city limits of Marlow. Reports show the victim sustained “mortal wounds by sharp force trauma to her neck” and died as a result.
The couple shared a child, according to records.
On Nov. 29, 2016, authorities issued a warrant for Sanchez-Garcia’s arrest.