Jesus Canales of El Salvador is suspected of killing 26-year-old Lucy Preciado with a 3-foot-long sword in front of their four children on July 12, 2008. Canales fled Lancaster and ditched his vehicle at a McDonald's in Pomona.
The victim's 9-year-old daughter Marina called 911 with a frantic plea for help after seeing the brutal attack. The attack and call was covered extensively on "America's Most Wanted."
Detectives, who described the killing as the worst they had ever seen, originally tracked Canales to New Mexico, Texas, Mexico and El Salvador.
A felony arrest warrant for murder and child endangerment was obtained on July 16, 2008.
During the investigation, detectives learned that Canales was residing in a small town in Jalisco, Mexico. With the help of LASD Major Crimes detectives, the United States Marshals Services and Mexican authorities were called in to assist with the investigation.
After five years on the run, the suspect was detained by Mexican authorities on Thursday. He was expelled from Mexico and released into the custody of U.S. Marshals. He was then flown to Los Angeles International Airport where he was arrested for murder upon arrival Thursday.
Sheriff's detectives called Preciado's family as soon as Canales was in custody. Her cousin, Reeni Quezada, says she never lost hope Preciado's killer would be caught.
"We've waited so long," said Quezada. "Almost everybody in my family was like 'you're lying, you're lying.' I literally had to send something to them so they could see. I could hardly believe it myself."
Quezada says Marina, who's now 14, was the first person she called to share the good news.
"I draw a lot of strength from her," said Quezada. "She's absolutely amazing. She's just a remarkable girl -- very strong."
Now that justice is within reach, Quezada hopes the family will finally have closure, especially Preciado's children.
"They had to live it. They saw it. They were there, and they've still had to overcome; that can't be easy," said Quezada.
Canales is scheduled to be arraigned on charges of murder and child endangerment on Monday.
Anyone with information regarding this murder was asked to contact Sergeant Kevin Lloyd or Detective Jeff Leslie of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.