Ohio murder suspect arrested in Janesville

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Shelly Birkelo
Thursday, November 14, 2013

JANESVILLE—A man wanted on a murder charge in Columbus, Ohio, and who has eluded police for more than 18 months was arrested Tuesday night in Janesville.

Sar I, of Madison, was taken into custody during a traffic stop by Janesville police at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Rockport Road and Stone Street, said Lt. Keith Lawver, head of the Janesville Police Department's detective bureau.

The arrest came after Janesville police received a tip that a man wanted on a number of serious charges in Columbus, Ohio, could be frequenting a certain location, Lawver said.

“We did surveillance for eight hours Wednesday, and when we saw someone that matched the description of the suspect in a vehicle, we stopped the car, and identified the passenger in the vehicle as Sar I,” he said.

I was in town visiting friends, Lawver said.

Columbus detectives will travel to Janesville to interview I, who is in custody at the Rock County Jail awaiting extradition, Lawver said.

“We will assist them once they get here with anything they need,” he said.

“Anytime you have a subject in your community who has committed a homicide, it's a danger. The sooner you can get him off the streets, the better,” he said.

I, 42, was charged with murder in May 2012. He is accused of killing Claudia Lopez Escobar, 29, of Whitehall, according to a story in The Columbus Dispatch newspaper.

Lopez Escobar was last seen alive March 30, 2012. Her body has not been found. The day she disappeared, she told a friend she was going to visit a former boyfriend at his apartment. When police later searched I's apartment, they found blood and other evidence that led to the murder charge weeks after Lopez Escobar's disappearance, according to the newspaper article.

Columbus police were working with the U.S. Marshal's Office and recently received information that I was living in Janesville, said Sgt. Steve Little, of the Columbus police homicide division, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

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