11 years after double murder in Parlier, Jose Zepeda arrested for crime in Bakersfield

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A man accused of killing two people in Parlier was arrested on Tuesday more than 10 years after the murders.

Fresno County sheriff's officials say Jose Zepeda was arrested in Bakersfield.

Police say a recent arrest in Kern County helped them track Zepeda.

The suspect didn't have any outstanding warrants, nor was he ever flagged or wanted for murder, so Kern County authorities had no reason to contact Fresno law enforcement after his January arrest.

It all came down to a former detective who decided to reopen the case.

On November 23, 2008 - 11 years ago - 25-year-old Gilberto Bustos and 24-year-old Malaquias Flores were killed during a drug deal at the Salandini Villa apartments, leaving many of the neighbors that day rattled.

The Fresno County sheriff's office was called in to help investigate and find the suspect, but their big break in the case came the following day with a tip out of Tulare County.

"Tulare County sheriff's deputies told us they had a man who was a victim of a shooting while on the road in Travor," said Tony Botti of the Fresno County Sheriff's Office.

The victim, later identified as Zepeda, was taken to a hospital in Fresno but checked out before deputies could arrive to question him.

Labs later connected the blood found in his car to blood at the crime scene, however, Zepeda was nowhere to be found.

The case sat cold for years until a retired detective pulled out the case and found Zepeda's name linked to a recent arson arrest out of Kern County after an illegal marijuana grow led to a house fire.

U.S marshalls arrested Zepeda at his home.

After spending years on the run, the suspect now sits behind Fresno County Jail with a $2-million bond.

Botti also reminds residents that if they know something about a case, no matter how old, to call them and help them solve the case.

Zepeda's case is expected to be given to the Fresno County District Attorney's Office this week so they can decide whether or not to file charges.
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