ANAHEIM, CA - On January 17, 1998, California Corrections Officer Elizabeth Begaren was brutally murdered on the on ramp to the eastbound 91 freeway from East Street in Anaheim. The case went cold and was unsolved for nearly 15 years. In February 2012, the Anaheim Police Department Homicide Detail arrested several suspects for their involvement in the murder, including the victim’s husband, Nuzzio Begaren, who had collected nearly $1,000,000 from Elizabeth’s life insurance policy.
The ensuing investigation led to the identification of Guillermo Espinoza as the suspect who shot and killed Elizabeth on the side of the freeway. Espinoza fled the United States when he learned the investigation was focusing on him. In May of 2012, the Orange County Grand Jury indicted Espinoza on one count of 1st Degree Murder with the Special Circumstances of Murder during the Commission of a Robbery, and Murder for Financial Gain, and one count of Conspiracy to Commit Murder. A warrant of arrest was issued for Espinoza who was featured in August 2012 as a fugitive on the television program America’s Most Wanted.
For the past four years personnel from local, regional, federal and Mexican law enforcement organizations have provided the Anaheim Police Department with extensive investigative assistance and have been working diligently to locate Espinoza. These agencies include the Los Angeles Police Department LA High Impact Drug Tracking Area Program (HIDTA) Group 51, the San Diego Regional Fugitive Task Force, as well as Agents from the Baja State Police: Policía Estatal Preventiva de Baja California. Late yesterday afternoon, Espinoza, a US citizen, was located in Mexicali, Mexico. He was arrested without incident and was immediately deported for unlawful entry into Mexico. Espinoza was living under an assumed name and had been in custody in Mexicali last March, but was released before his true identity was determined. Late last night, Anaheim homicide detectives were waiting at the San Ysidro Port of Entry and arrested Espinoza, now 40 years old, on the outstanding warrant. Espinoza was transported to and booked at the Anaheim Detention Facility without bail. If convicted on all counts Espinoza faces up to Life in Prison without the Possibility of Parole.
Nuzzio Begaren was convicted in 2013 for orchestrating his wife’s murder and is serving a sentence of 26 years to life in prison. Two additional suspects, Jose Luis Sandoval and Rudy Duran, both fellow Los Angeles gang members of Espinoza, were also convicted for their roles in the murder.
Espinoza’s booking photo is shown below: