ALHAMBRA — After 31-years as a fugitive, cold case homicide investigators have arrested an Alhambra man on suspicion of murdering a man on Los Angeles on New Year’s Day, 1981, authorities announced Friday.
Abraham Tovar, 73, was arrested Wednesday at his Alhambra home by detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Newton Homicide Due Diligence Team, LAPD officials said in a written statement.
His brother, Andrew Tovar, was arrested, tried and convicted for the Jan. 1, 1981 slaying of 36-year-old Charles McGee at a vacant lot in the 2300 block of South Central Avenue in Los Angeles, officials said. Andrew Tovar served a state prison sentence and has since died.
Though always suspected in the killing, “Abraham Tovar was never brought to justice and remained a fugitive from the law for 31 years,” according to the LAPD statement.
Investigators picked up Abraham Tovar’s trail several months ago in Alhambra, police said.
The three-decade-old manhunt collimated with Abraham Tovar’s arrest about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at his home in the 1500 block of South Chapel Avenue in Alhambra, LAPD Officer Norma Eisenman said. He was taken into custody without incident.
The Due Diligence Team concluded a several-month investigation that resulted in two search warrants being issued, several days of surveillance and numerous interviews with the suspect’s family members and friends in order to locate and apprehend him,” the police statement said.
The Tovar brothers had a dispute with an unidentified man at the vacant lot where McGhee’s body was later found, officials said.
“Armed with a handgun and a hatchet, the Tovar brothers returned to the lot for revenge,” according the police statement. “However, the brothers were unable to find the person they were looking for, so they turned their anger toward Charles McGhee and (a second victim) Wayne Alexis instead.”
Abraham shot both men, investigators said. Alexis survived his wounds and testified against Andrew Tovar during his trial.
“This is a perfect example of how, sooner or later, the long arms of the law will catch up with criminals,” the statement added.
Information on Abraham Tovar’s initial court appearance was not available Friday due to technical problems with county booking records.
A case had not been filed with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office Friday afternoon, officials said.
PHOTOS: (above)1981 murder suspect Abraham Tovar, 73, of Alhambra shortly after his arrest Wednesday, May 16, 2012. (below) Abraham Tovar, photographed in September of 1985.