Arrest In 1991 Stabbing Death Of West Falls Church Woman

FALLS CHURCH, VA — Fairfax County Police recently extradited and arrested a suspect in the April 30, 1991, stabbing death of Ana Jurado, 24, who was found suffering from trauma to her upper body in the 3100 block of Cofer Road in West Falls Church.

Detectives identified Jurado’s estranged husband, Jose Lazaro Cruz, as a suspect in the case. The couple was going through a divorce at the time she was killed, according to Lt. Col. Eli Cory, deputy chief, during a news conference Monday afternoon at public safety headquarters.

“During the evening of April 30, 1991, our officers responded to the 3100 block of Cofer Road,” Cory said. “What they found was 24-year-old Ana, lying on the curb of the street, deceased from upper body trauma. Witnesses reported hearing a scream and also of a man leaving that location who matched the description of Mr. Cruz.”

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After interviewing Cruz, talking to witnesses, and examining evidence, detectives identified him as a suspect in the case and obtained a felony murder arrest warrant on May 10, 1991. However, Cruz, who was 24 at the time, fled Fairfax County and was later reported trying to cross into Canada, where he was denied entry for using fraudulent identification, officials said.

“When the border agents sent him back into the United States, they noticed that there was a what appeared to be a fresh cut to Mr. Cruz’s arm,” Cory said. “From there, we believe Mr. Cruz fled on a bus to Houston, Texas, where he illegally crossed the border with the help of a smuggler.”

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At that time, El Salvador did not have a legal mechanism in place to extradite Cruz to the U.S. For years, Richard Perez, a retired FCPD major, worked with the El Salvadoran government to help enact the necessary laws to make that happen, according to Cory.

“The break came on July 23, 2022, when Cruz tried to enter Costa Rica,” he said. “He was detained by the Costa Rican authorities and the extradition process was initiated.”

After a year and a half, Cruz was finally returned to Virginia on Thursday after 32 years. He is being held at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center awaiting his trial on a second-degree murder charge. If convicted, Cruz faces a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of no more than 40 years.

At the time of her death, Jurado had three children. Her 4-year-old son was living with family when the homicide occurred. Jurado’s 3-year-old and 7-month-old daughters were living in the U.S.

During his time in El Salvador, Cruz started a second family and was working as a truck driver, according to Cory.

“We believe that he was crossing the border to go see some family members when he got caught,” Cory said. “So 30 years later, I can imagine that he probably got a little comfortable and thought he was moving forward.”

Davis thanked the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Marshal’s Service

“It is a testament to great diligent work,” said FCPD Chief Kevin Davis, during the press conference. “It is also a testament to great collaboration and partnership. Not only that the justice system here in Fairfax County but also nationally.”

One of the FCPD officers present at Monday’s news conference was 2nd Lt. Aaron Pfeiff. In 1991, he was 14 and his father, Fred Pfeiff, was the lead detective on the case.

“This means a lot to me, not only me, but my family to recognize the dedication and legacy of my father,” Pfeiff said. “I stand here with pride. I consider my father’s contributions to the FCPD.”

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Before his retirement in 1991, Pfeiff’s father spent the better part of 17 years working as a detective in the department.

“One thing that defined my father was his belief in teamwork,” Lt. Aaron Pfeiff said. “So you can imagine how proud he would be today knowing how many entities took part in bringing this individual to justice. He understood the importance of collaboration and effective law enforcement.”

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