Murder suspects found in Tarboro

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 20, 2004

TARBORO – A late-night knock on the door of an Edgecombe County residence here Monday ended a short-lived manhunt for two suspects wanted for the Saturday murder of an Aulander man.

Jose Luis Vazquez-Cortez and Gregorio Cortez Vazquez, both of Aulander, are being held without bond in the Bertie-Martin Regional Jail after being arrested by Aulander Police Chief Jimmy Barmer. Both face first-degree murder charges in the stabbing death of Martin Resendiz.

For Barmer, as well as the law enforcement officials with the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office that assisted him in the investigation, a tip that led him to Edgecombe County proved correct.

&uot;Within 72 hours from the time of the murder, we were able to track down these two suspects,&uot; said Barmer. &uot;Without the support of the guys with the (Bertie) Sheriff’s Office as well as those with the Tarboro Police and Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office, we may still be out there looking.&uot;

Barmer said his source of information also informed him that the suspects might head to Raleigh and then attempt to leave the country.

&uot;That information was also correct,&uot; stated Barmer. &uot;Our investigation revealed the two suspects did go to Raleigh and then came back to Tarboro where they were waiting for enough money to leave the States.&uot;

Those plans ended with a simple knock on a door.

According to Barmer, he and Bertie Sheriff’s Detective Eddie Graham went to Tarboro on Monday night where they met with Edgecombe County lawmen. Assisted by those authorities, Barmer and Graham went to a residence located at Lot 36, Mobile Home Estates in Tarboro.

&uot;I knocked on the door and a Hispanic male, who identified himself as George, answered,&uot; reported Barmer. &uot;I then asked the interpreter that had accompanied us to the residence to step forward to aid in the questioning process. When she arrived at the door, she said, ‘oh my God, it’s Jose Luis (Cortez)’.&uot;

After Cortez was arrested, information was gained that led the officers inside the home where Vazquez was found hiding in a bedroom. He was also arrested without incident.

Barmer said both men had cut their hair in an apparent attempt to alter their identity.

&uot;All of this was made possible thanks to a great team effort from private citizens and the law enforcement community in two counties along with the SBI,&uot; stressed Barmer. &uot;I thank Detective Graham and the officers with the Tarboro Police Department and Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office for their support and effort in apprehending these fugitives.&uot;

Barmer added these arrests would go a long way in strengthening the relationship between law enforcement officials and the Hispanic community.

&uot;We treated this murder investigation just as we would in any circumstance,&uot; noted Barmer. &uot;We didn’t look at this as a Hispanic being murdered. The victim was a human being and didn’t deserve to have his life ended in such a brutal manner. I really believe that this investigation and the arrests will allow the Hispanic community to gain trust in local law enforcement.&uot;

The murder occurred at approximately 2 a.m. on Saturday at 202 Chestnut Street in Aulander. There, Barmer said several Hispanic males had gathered for what he referred to as a party.

It was at that address where Resendiz became involved in a fight with Vazquez. According to the witnesses at the scene, Cortez entered the fray. Cortez then allegedly began to stab Resendiz several times in the chest while Vazquez held the victim.

&uot;After the stabbing, someone at that residence called the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office,&uot; said Barmer. &uot;However, the caller did not speak English and the only thing they said was ‘Police-a, Police-a’.&uot;

Thanks to the Enhanced 911 package used by the Bertie Sheriff’s Office, the dispatcher was able to determine the origin of that call – 202 Chestnut Street in Aulander. Shortly after that call, another plea for help was placed to the Bertie Sheriff’s Office. Barmer said this caller was a female and spoke English.

&uot;She informed the dispatcher that a rescue unit was needed at that address,&uot; said the Chief.

Bertie Sheriff’s Corporal Harris Williams and Deputy Jackie Cherry were the first to arrive at the scene. Once they assessed the situation, Barmer was summoned to the crime scene. The area was sealed off in order to preserve evidence for the SBI Crime Scene investigator.