After posting $150 worth of wanted posters he printed himself at Kinko’s, a San Diego ad man is credited by a U.S. marshal in today’s San Francisco Chronicle with tracking down a couple of murder suspects who’d fled to Baja after allegedly killing their housemate in December.

Here’s more on the grisly case and suspects’ arrest:

Richard Carelli and his girlfriend Michele Pinkerton, both 38, had been sought in connection with the December slaying of Leonard Milo Hoskins, 49. Hoskins’ body languished for eight days in Carelli’s van at a San Francisco police impound yard after officers towed it in January from the Mission Terrace house where all three lived, authorities said.

Mexican authorities arrested the couple Monday night in El Rosario on the Baja peninsula, San Francisco police said. They were in Tijuana on Tuesday night and are expected to be arraigned in federal court before being turned over to San Francisco police, said Chris Hanson, supervising deputy U.S. marshal in San Francisco.

James Spring, the San Diego man, grew interested in the case last week, contacted a relative of the victim and, with the relative’s blessing, printed 2,500 wanted posters and headed across the border Sunday. He took the posters to gas stations and police stations.

Spring, who also works as a freelance radio reporter, said he became interested in the case after reading news accounts that the couple had been spotted in Baja California but had not been arrested.

“They made it sound like Baja was the planet Jupiter,” Spring said. “But I go there all the time. I’m pretty familiar with Baja. It’s not that difficult to find people.”

The tip came from an El Rosario gas station attendant named Raul who saw the poster at and told Spring, the San Diego man, that the suspects were staying nearby.

From there, Spring continued his manhunt:

A motel clerk a few doors away pointed out the couple’s home.

Pinkerton had been working as a dance instructor at the home, giving lessons to local children for $1 an hour, Spring said.

Spring said he alerted Mexican police and called Hanson in San Francisco, and Mexican authorities arrested the couple without incident a few hours later.


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