Fugitive Ed Mendoza’s longtime odyssey has finally come to an end when was captured yesterday in the California wine country.
Mendoza was arrested at his home in Santa Rosa where he had set up a new life.
Ed Mendoza was a San Jose resident and began his life as a fugitive 20 years ago when he was arrested in San Diego near the Mexican border by federal agents for alleged transportation of narcotics. He then called his aunt here in San Jose and convinced her to use her home as collateral to bail him out of jail. Unfortunately, he never appeared in court, began his life as a fugitive and worse of all causing his aunt to loose her home.
Fugitive Watch became aware of this case shortly after his aunt lost her home to the court and we featured him on the Fugitive Watch television show starting in 1994. We never gave up on him and repeated his story on our TV program and when we started the Fugitive Newspaper and web site www.fugitive.com he was always one of our featured stories.
Over the years, Fugitive Watch received dozens of tips from citizens across the country, many saying he was using his brother’s name Domingo Mendoza as an alias. Some callers said he and family members would work together and laughed about how much smarter they were than the police and he would never get caught.
About the year 2000, Fugitive Watch received a tip that Ed had just been arrested in Oregon for allegedly causing an accident with injuries while DUI. He had taken out an Oregon driver’s license using his brother’s name Domingo Mendoza. We jumped on the tip and made numerous calls to Oregon authorities trying to track down the lead and eventually determined he was arrested in Medford, Oregon. By the time we were able to get the Oregon authorities to confirm it was Ed Mendoza, he had been released from custody.
Mendoza never was able to escape our memory and we eventually enlisted the help of Canadian forensic artist Victoria Lynwood who volunteered to create age enhanced sketches of several of our older cases, one of which was Ed.
Fugitive Watch never let Ed Mendoza sleep with both eyes shut and kept his name and story in the public eye. Over the last few years, we received several tips that he was living and working in Santa Rosa and family members were still helping him and lying to law enforcement.
Citizen tips brought Ed Mendoza’s life as a free man to an end yesterday when law enforcement officers finally placed handcuffs on him.