Modesto, The Modesto Bee

Suspect in Southwest slaying arrested

May 21, 2006
Modesto, The Modesto Bee
by Rosalio Ahumada - Bee Staff Writer

Modesto police arrested a man Thursday night who New Mexico investigators believe killed a woman in 1999 in Texas and dumped her body in Albuquerque.

Police arrested Narciso Teodoro Cuellar, 31, about 9 p.m. at a home in the 200 block of H Street, Lt. Chris Fuzie said.

The arrest came after a yearlong cold-case investigation for detectives from Bernalillo County in New Mexico, trying to find out who killed Jacqueline Ann Wunch.

Detectives believe Cuellar killed Wunch, when he was living in Texas and she was his neighbor, for her car, so he could move his family to California, according to an April 18 article in the Albuquerque Journal. Investigators think Wunch was killed in Amarillo, Texas, and her body was dumped in a ditch in Albuquerque.

The body was found in October 1999, but it was not identified until several years later with the help of a Web site, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

The Web site, Doe Network, uses volunteers to try to match missing person cases to unidentified bodies.

Cuellar was identified as the murder suspect in April and the investigation led the detectives to California. They didn't have any specific information, but believed Cuellar might be living in the Modesto area and called Modesto police.

Officers from the department's Street Crimes Unit began surveillance, checking old addresses and contacting people who knew Cuellar but were unaware he was wanted. Fuzie said Cuellar was arrested and booked into Stanislaus County Jail, where he is awaiting extradition to Texas.

Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at 578-2394 or [email protected]