Nearly two decades after a bench warrant was issued for his arrest in Mamaroneck, a man has been extradited from Guatemala and returned to Westchester County to face child sexual abuse charges.
On Thursday, Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino, Jr. announced that 49-year-old Luis Ortiz had been extradited to serve a bench warrant issued in 1998 after he failed to appear in court for felony charges of sexual abuse and course of sexual conduct against a child.
On Nov. 9, 1998, Ortiz’s 5-year-old victim told her mother that he had allegedly sexually abused her while she was in his home the previous weekend, Scarpino said. That same day, the victim’s mother filed a report with the Mamaroneck Police Department and Ortiz was arrested two days later and charged with first-degree sexual abuse after admitting to the claim.
The following month, on Dec. 1, during a forensic interview of Ortiz’s alleged victim, she provided police with information that indicated he had engaged in several more serious sexual assaults against her over a period of months. Scarpino said that Ortiz was then charged with course of sexual conduct against a child, for crimes that allegedly took place between March and November that year.
Ortiz was arraigned on the new charges in Mamaroneck Village Court and bail was set at $50,000, though that was reduced to $10,000 in Westchester County Court. Ortiz made bail on Dec. 10, 1999 and failed to appear at his next two scheduled court dates and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
According to Scarpino, on March 7, 2000, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office requested that a Red Notice - an international alert - be issued by Interpol for Ortiz. Four months later, law enforcement received a tip that Ortiz had been spotted in El Salvador, but police could not locate the suspect. Due to his status as a citizen there, efforts to locate him were ramped up in the region.
After the case went temporarily cold, in 2012, the U.S. Marshall’s Service obtained information that Ortiz was in Guatemala living under an assumed name. The Department of State was contacted, requesting that Guatemalan authorities obtain a provisional arrest warrant, Scarpino said. The provisional arrest warrant was issued and Ortiz was apprehended in August last year by members of the Diplomatic Security Service of the State Department and U.S. Marshall’s Service.
Scarpino said that “after exhausting attempts to avoid extradition, (Ortiz) was returned stateside by federal law enforcement agents who turned him over to Mamaroneck detectives at JFK Airport on Wednesday.
Ortiz appeared in Mamaroneck Village Court on Thursday and was remanded. He is due back in court on Thursday, May 11.