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Arrest made in 2002 Escondido homicide

A man who allegedly stabbed a man to death in a bar fight in 2002 has been arrested for the crime.

On September 10, 2002 at Dee’s Sports Tavern, 426 N. Rose Street, Hector Mendieta (who was 21 at the time) and Bartolo Velador (who was then 36) were in a physical altercation.

During the fight, Mendieta stabbed Velador and fled the scene. Velador later died as a result of his injuries. As Escondido police detectives began working the case, they learned that Mendieta fled the country into Mexico. Detectives developed probable cause to believe Mendieta was responsible for the murder, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

In 2012 this case was reinitiated by the Escondido Police Department Cold Case Homicide Unit. Believing there was still sufficient evidence to charge Mendieta with murder, in 2013 the Cold Case Unit requested the assistance of the U.S. Marshal’s San Diego Fugitive Task Force in an effort to locate and arrest Mendieta.

In June of 2016 the U.S. Marshal’s San Diego Fugitive Task Force located Mendieta in Mexico, and Mexican authorities arrested him for the warrant. After a lengthy extradition process, Mendieta was flown to the United States and delivered to officers from the Escondido Police Department. Mendieta, now 35 years old, was later booked into the Vista Detention Facility for PC 187(a) – First Degree Murder.

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to call Escondido Police Detective Ross Umstot at 760- 839-4463, or leave an anonymous tip at 760-743-TIPS (8477).

Follow the police department via Facebook at www.facebook.com/EscondidoPolice and Twitter (@EscondidoPolice).

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