Tuesday, December 8, 2009

12 Days of Fugitives, Day 1: Julio Bonchea

Julio Bonchea

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Florida Department of Corrections on Monday kicked of "the 12 Days of Fugitives," an intensive public relations effort to locate long-lost and dangerous prison escapees. As noted in a story today by reporter Robert Napper, two of the fugitives have ties to Manatee and Sarasota counties.

This morning, state officials issued the first of what look like will be 12 daily news releases, each one profiling a different fugitive.

The fugitive of the day today is Julio Bonchea:
The Miami-Dade Police Department arrested Bonchea on June 6, 1997 for participating in an armed home invasion robbery with two accomplices. One victim was stabbed and another victim was shot at several times. Bonchea was charged with attempted homicide, burglary, grand larceny and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. He was sentenced Aug. 8, 1998 to 18 years in prison on two counts of second-degree murder.

Bonchea escaped from the Calhoun Correctional Institution March 26, 2000. Authorities believe that Bonchea’s brother provided him with civilian clothing during a visitation that Bonchea used to exit the facility undetected. Following his escape, Bonchea was arrested June 20, 2001 in San Jose, Costa Rica for attempted murder with a firearm. He escaped from the Costa Rican prison June 6, 2005 while serving an 11-year prison sentence.

“This fugitive is the first to be featured as he has the dubious distinction of being highly violent and escaping from a Florida Prison and a foreign jail,” said FDLE Tampa Bay Special Agent in Charge Jim Madden. “He has family in Cuba and South Florida connections but could be living undetected in any Spanish-speaking community anywhere.”

Bonchea is 5’7” and at the time of his escape was approximately 155 pounds. He has brown eyes and brown hair. He has worked in travel, insurance and marketing sales and speaks Spanish and English. Bonchea has used the aliases Julio Bonachea, Manuel Tata Rodriguez, and Miguel Tata Rodriguez.

Bonchea is featured today on digital billboards across the state. The Florida Outdoor Advertising Association (FOAA) and its network of member companies are broadcasting the faces of the fugitives and the tip line number throughout the campaign period. There are 90 digital billboard locations statewide.

There is an active warrant for Bonchea for escape, a first-degree felony. The warrant is for nationwide extradition. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call the toll free tip line at 1-877-FLA-WANTED (1-877-352-9268) or e-mail FLAWanted@fdle.state.fl.us

Julio Bonchea, in age progression illustration released by Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

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