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Arrest made in 1999 death: Man was wanted after alleged murder of his wife in Yuba City

The Yuba City Police Department announced Saturday the arrest of a man who has been wanted by law enforcement in connection with the death of his wife since 1999.

According to officials, a warrant was obtained for Francisco Arellano after his wife, Blanca Duenas-Arellano, was allegedly killed on July 26, 1999, in the 600 block of Queens Avenue in Yuba City. Arellano was 27 at the time and his wife was 32.

Arellano had “fled to Mexico” with their two young children, officials said, after the alleged murder of Duenas-Arellano. Attempts to locate Arellano were unsuccessful in the following years.

“In 2019, Yuba City investigators learned Mr. Arellano was residing in the state of Morales, Mexico,” officials said in a statement. “The Yuba City Police and Sutter County District Attorney’s Office worked in conjunction with the Office of International Affairs to begin the extradition process. Mr. Arellano, now 51-years-old, was apprehended in the state of Morales, Mexico, on June 22, 2022, with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals. On November 18, 2022, Mr. Arellano was extradited into the United States and was transported by the Yuba City Police Department where he was booked into the Sutter County Jail. He is currently in custody for homicide on a no bail warrant.”

While no details about the case have been released, the Appeal-Democrat reported in 1999 that the weapon allegedly used to kill Duenas-Arellano was found at the scene and appeared to be an ordinary kitchen knife, according to Yuba City Police Department Lt. Bill Ollar at the time of the incident. Detectives at the time did not indicate whether the knife came from the victim’s kitchen or was brought in by her alleged attacker.

About three weeks prior to her death, Duenas-Arellano asked that police be present during an exchange of property between her and her husband out of a fear that there could be trouble, Ollar previously said. In 1997, Duenas-Arellano received a temporary restraining order against her husband after alleging he physically abused her an average of two times a year from April 1991 to May 1997, according to court records.

In her petition seeking the restraining order, Duenas-Arellano said she never reported the abuse because of her husband’s threats “that as soon as he got out (of jail), he would kill me and take my children to Mexico,” the Appeal previously reported. She later dropped her petition for a permanent restraining order prior to a court hearing.

In August 1997, her husband, Arellano, was convicted and served 60 days in jail for spousal abuse stemming from an incident in which he beat his wife inside a McRae Way apartment in Yuba City. He was on probation for that conviction when the 1999 alleged murder occurred.

“The Yuba City Police Department hopes the arrest of Mr. Arellano helps to bring closure to Blanca Duenas’ family,” officials said Saturday. “We also would like to recognize and thank the following agencies for all of their assistance in this investigation: The Office of International Affairs, The U.S. Marshall’s Office, Homeland Security, and the Sutter County District Attorney’s Office. Without their assistance, the arrest and extradition of Mr. Arellano would not have been possible.”

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