A man charged in the death of a Marion County Deputy has been arrested in Mexico, nearly 10 years after the crime.
Deputy Kelly Fredinburg was in his patrol car responding to a call on June 16, 2007, when he was hit head-on by another driver on Highway 99E north of Gervais. His patrol car caught fire and he never made it out.
His father, Gary Fredinburg, got the call the next morning – on Father’s Day.
“Today, Father’s Day, I mean I’ve got other kids, but it’s just not the same. It’s that empty spot,” Gary Fredinburg told FOX 12. “I haven’t got a problem talking about Kelly. That’s kind of therapy for me. I’ll never forget him.”
The other driver, Alfredo de Jesus Ascencio, 20, was critically hurt in the crash but survived. One of his passengers, Oscar Ascencio Amaya, 19, was also killed.
In August 2007, investigators got an indictment for two counts of criminally negligent homicide but learned that de Jesus Ascencio fled the country for Mexico before he could be indicted.
What followed has been a long and difficult road for the Fredinburg family.
Due to extradition laws, de Jesus Ascencio couldn’t be brought back to the U.S. Three years after the crash, investigators went to Mexico under what’s called an Article 4 Prosecution, allowing people charged with certain crimes in the U.S. to be prosecuted for them in Mexico.
In 2011, a Mexican federal judge signed off on the paperwork, and a warrant was issued for de Jesus Ascencio’s arrest, but another six years passed with very little news.
“I don’t think there’s a week goes by somebody doesn’t ask me about Kelly. They ask me all the time, ‘Did they catch that guy yet?’” Gary Fredinburg said. “[Kelly’s brother] knew by talking to the district attorney once in a while that they were close, but they couldn’t tell us much about the investigation and I understand why. They couldn’t take a chance with something getting out.”
Then finally – after nearly a decade – the news they’d been waiting for finally came.
On Friday, de Jesus Ascencio’s arrest was confirmed by Interpol, as that agency worked with FBI counterparts in Mexico and Salem.
“I kind of lost it at that point for a little bit. Took a little time to get my composure,” Gary Fredinburg said.
Kelly Fredinburg left behind a wife and two young daughters at the time of his death.
His father said he’ll always remember his smile, his love for fishing – and his passion for law enforcement. He served as a Polk County deputy for six years before joining the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
A shadowbox with his two badges now hangs in his father’s home. The stretch of highway where he died is now a memorial highway named in his honor.
Gary Fredinburg described the crash that took his son’s life as a tragic mistake. He said drugs or alcohol were not factors and that his family reached out to de Jesus Ascencio’s parents after he fled to Mexico for help in bringing him back to the U.S. He said they refused.
Gary Fredinburg told FOX 12 that when de Jesus Ascencio was finally arrested, he admitted to the crash.
He wishes he’d done it 10 years ago.
“I hope he gets it pretty tough down there now,” Gary Fredinburg said.
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