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September 27, 2020

DA announces arrest in 2009 murder of Santa Cruz teen

SANTA CRUZ—A man wanted for the 2009 murder of a Santa Cruz boy was brought back to the United States Monday after a five-month extradition process from Mexico, Santa Cruz County District Attorney Jeff Rosell announced.

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Paulo Luna, 34, is a suspect in the Oct. 16, 2009 murder of 16-year-old Tyler Tenorio. He had been in custody in Mexico since March.

On that day, Tenorio was hanging outside a convenience store at Chestnut and Laurel streets when one of his friends shouted “Westside” at two men who were in the area. That taunt prompted a fight between the two groups. 

Rosell did not specify what role Luna played in Tenorio’s death, but said he is a “direct principal participant” in the crime.

“Tyler was attacked by multiple people as he lay helpless on the ground,” Rosell told reporters during a press conference Tuesday. “And since the night of that incident, Santa Cruz Police Department has worked diligently and investigated this horrific crime.”

Luna is a Mexican citizen, and fled there after the murder. He was living in a city called La Laborcita in Guanajuato, where he lived with his mother and worked in a shoe factory, Rosell said.

A second suspect in the case, Ivan Tapia Ramirez, was arrested in Mexico in 2019. A total of five people have now been arrested in the case, Rosell said, adding that no other suspects are at large.

Inspectors from the DAs office, Santa Cruz Police Department and the U.S. Marshal’s Office worked together in the case.

“This is truly an example of local law enforcement and federal law enforcement working together for the community’s safety,” Rosell said.

Don O’Keefe, the U.S. Marshall for the Northern District of California, said the arrest was made more difficult by the fact that Luna is a Mexican citizen.

“In this case, we couldn’t have done it without the cooperation of the Mexican authorities, he said.

Luna is due to make his first court appearance by video conference Wednesday morning.

Rosell said that Luna’s arrest is the seventh person that local law enforcement officials have brought back from Mexico since 2013 to face murder charges.

“I think that speaks volumes to the commitment that we all have to making sure that victims get justice and making sure that communities get justice,” he said.

SCPD Chief Andy Mills said that the officers who arrested Luna on U.S. soil used the handcuffs used by Sgt. Loren “Butch” Baker, who investigated the murder after it occurred. Baker was killed along with his partner Elizabeth Butler on Feb. 26, 2013. The same handcuffs were used on Ramirez upon his extradition, Mills said.

“That’s a pretty special thing for our folks who have worked on the cases,” he said.

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