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'We made a promise:' Wilder man accused of killing wife in 2015 returned to Idaho

Erasmo Diaz was apprehended in Mexico in June after a six-year search. "It was very important to us to never give up hope for that family."
Credit: Canyon Co. Jail
Erasmo Diaz

WILDER, Idaho — The days after Amparo Godinez Sanchez was shot to death inside her Wilder home turned into weeks, then into months, then years with no arrest. But in Canyon County, law enforcement refused to give up. They were spurred on, Sheriff Kieran Donahue said, by a pledge he made Sanchez' family in the earliest days of the investigation.

On Thursday night, that promise was fulfilled as 51-year-old Erasmo Diaz was extradited back from the country of Mexico and booked into the Canyon County Jail, in the culmination of a six-year manhunt and international operation. 

"Today is, quite frankly, a good day," Donahue said at a Friday press briefing. "This is a day we have been looking forward to, and I  can assure you, this is a day that the family members of Ms. Sanchez and her children have looked to this day for many years."

Sanchez, the suspect's wife, was a domestic violence victim gunned down on June 11, 2015 by her husband as their daughters looked on, officials say. A 911 call sent deputies rushing to the couple's Red Top Road house, but Diaz had already slipped through their net. 

The suspect dumped his car in Adrian, Oregon, then made his way south into Mexico, investigators say.

Donahue thanked members of the detective division, the Canyon County Prosecutor's Office, Mexican federales, and the U.S. Marshals Service for their work to find and apprehend the suspect in Mexico in June of this year. 

Credit: KTVB
Amparo Godinez Sanchez

The extradition process for Diaz, a Mexican national, lasted for months after his arrest, the sheriff said. He was returned to Idaho Thursday, and is set to be arraigned on charges of second-degree murder, felony injury to a child and more Friday afternoon. 

"I don't think he is exactly happy that he is here. I don't know that he believed that we would ever get to him," Donahue said. "But we made a promise....I promised the day it happened we will never stop hunting this man."

Donahue described the case as "the face of domestic violence in our society" and warned that senseless violence like that which claimed Sanchez' life will continue unless the commity commits to making a stand against domestic violence.

"Her children have been affected not just that night, but for the rest of their entire lives," he said. "[Sanchez'] death to me is a pinnacle point, that we should always remember what that family did go through and will go through because of domestic violence." 

Bond in the case is set at $5 million. If convicted of second-degree murder, Diaz faces up to life in prison.

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