Slaying suspects found in Mexico

Two suspects who had more than a week’s head start in their escape to Mexico as a slaying victim’s corpse decomposed inside a van in police custody have been tracked down by a curious journalist and captured.

Richard Carelli and Michelle Pinkerton — suspects in the killing of their housemate Leonard “Milo” Hoskins — were arrested in El Rosario, Baja Mexico, by local authorities Monday night and were deported from Mexico. The two will be transported to San Francisco for prosecution.

Police said their two children, a 6-year-old and an infant who are now both under the legal custody of their grandparents, were unharmed.

James Spring, a National Public Radio reporter based in San Diego, took on the search after reading a news report about the missing fugitives, according to Ellen Pauly, Pinkerton’s mother.

“He approached us and said he spent a lot of time in Baja, and that he wanted to go down there for his 40th birthday and look for them,” Pauly said. “There was a report where they were last seen, so he went there and handed out fliers, spoke to police in Spanish and eventually found them.”

Police said Hoskins, a 49-year-old computer programmer, was killed Dec. 23 even though his body was not discovered until Feb. 1.

Despite indications from cadaver dogs and the presence of blood smears, investigators let Carelli and Pinkerton drive away from the victim’s home Jan. 24. Their van was towed to the Police Department’s impound lot, where it sat without being searched as police obtained a warrant.

In the meantime, the suspects picked up their 6-year-old daughter from her grandparents’ house and went on the run.

“We are very grateful to all law enforcement agencies involved,” police Sgt. Steve Mannina said. “We’re especially grateful that the two children were found unharmed.”

bbegin@examiner.com

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