09/22/2009

Ga. deputy accused in slayings caught in Belize

Associated Press

DECATUR, Ga. — A former DeKalb County sheriff's deputy who fled after he was charged with killing his wife and a day laborer has been caught in Central America.

Special agents from the U.S. State Department located Derrick Yancey in Punta Gorda, Belize on Saturday. Yancey was arrested by Belize law enforcement and is awaiting return to the U.S.

Authorities say Yancey was under a $150,000 bond when he boarded a westbound Greyhound bus April 4 and disappeared somewhere between Phoenix and Los Angeles.

He is accused in the 2008 shootings of Linda Yancey, 44, and Marcial Cax Puluc, a 20-year-old Guatemalan immigrant he had hired to work at his home in the suburban Atlanta community of Stone Mountain. Yancey told investigators that Puluc had killed his wife and he killed Puluc in self-defense.

He resigned from his job with the sheriff's department shortly before he was indicted on murder charges in August.

Yancey was under orders to stay at his mother's home in Jonesboro, just south of Atlanta, when he removed his ankle monitor and left. The monitoring firm BI Inc. of Colorado received an alert on Yancey's bracelet at 5:41 a.m. April 4, but the sheriff's office was not notified for hours, DeKalb County Sheriff Thomas Brown said.

Authorities said that Yancey had cashed out his $18,000 pension and paid cash for his bus ticket. Video from the bus station showed him with a new mustache, longer hair and the beginnings of a new beard.

Jeffrey Mann, chief deputy for the DeKalb Sheriff's Office, said officials have some indication that family members might have been helping Yancy but no charges were pending against any of his family.

Yancey was featured on "America's Most Wanted" soon after his disappearance.

State department agents in Belize got a tip on Yancey's whereabouts and tracked him to a local bar on Saturday evening. Authorities said an agent tapped him on the shoulder and told him, "It's time to go."

Authorities refused to identify the tipster, who stands to collect a $20,000 reward.

Yancey is expected to be returned to the U.S. within days.

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