BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The extradition from Mexico of a man accused of killing his girlfriend and her two young sons, then burning their bodies in the southern Idaho desert, could take as long as three years, authorities said.
The FBI listed Jorge Orozco as one of its most-wanted fugitives in 2002 after fishermen found the abandoned, burned-out shell of the car that Orozco had been driving near the Snake River in a remote area of Idaho's Elmore County.
The charred remains of Rebecca Ramirez and her sons, ages 2 and 4, were found inside. Investigators later determined they were shot in the head or chest.
Orozco was captured in October 2009 as he delivered metal to a Mexican scrapyard.
Elmore County Prosecutor Kristina Schindele tells the Idaho Statesman that FBI officials have informed her that it could be two or three years before Orozco is sent back to Idaho.
FBI officials said they believe Orozco is still in custody in Mexico, and a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice said it's doing everything in its power to make the extradition happen.
Judges in Mexico have the power to conduct inquiries into criminal cases, "and they do it on their own good time," said Edwin Smith, a professor of international law and political science at the University of Southern California.
"Lawyers have no control over how fast things go," he said.
The United States and Mexico have an extradition treaty, but it doesn't allow a suspect to be taken to the other country if the person could face the death penalty.
Idaho has the death penalty, but Schindele filed an affidavit with the U.S. Office of Internal Affairs declaring she would not seek Orozco's execution.
Smith said the death penalty would still complicate the case, with a Mexican judge likely doing research to see if other U.S. prosecutors kept their word.
Information from: Idaho Statesman, http://www.idahostatesman.com