Man suspected in triple slaying and child kidnappings in Ariz. is arrested in Mexico


By JACQUES BILLEAUD
Associated Press Writer

PHOENIX- A man suspected in the abduction of his two children in Arizona and the killings of the youngsters' grandparents and an uncle has been arrested in Mexico, authorities said.

The children, 18-month-old Bryan Cervantes and 3-year-old Jennifer Cervantes, appeared to be unharmed and were in the custody of Mexican authorities, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.

Deputies planned to fly to Mexico on Tuesday to return the children, both of whom are U.S. citizens, to Arizona to be reunited with their mother, the sheriff said.

Their father, Rodrigo Cervantes Zavala, was arrested Monday afternoon near Puerto Vallarta in the Mexican state of Jalisco, authorities said. The children were found at a different location, Arpaio said at a news conference late Monday.

Investigators had been searching for Cervantes Zavala since July 10, when the children were reported missing a few hours after the bodies of their mother's parents and brother were found in a home near Queen Creek, southeast of Phoenix.

The children's mother, Oneida Isabel Acosta, has said that she left her husband a few months ago and had been living with her parents.

Arpaio would not give details of the arrest and the recovery of the children, but said Cervantes Zavala, 34, will be extradited to Arizona to stand trial on murder and kidnapping charges. He also would not discuss what information led to the arrest in Mexico.

Autopsies showed the grandparents - Saul Lopez Acosta, 63, and Trinidad Castro Acosta, 51 - were each killed by a gunshot to the head, according to the Maricopa County medical examiner's office. The 17-year-old uncle, Jesus Manuel Acosta, was shot in the abdomen.

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