Crime

Whatcom man reportedly hid and helped vehicular homicide suspect flee to Guatemala

A Whatcom County couple is suspected of helping a Lynden man wanted on suspicion of vehicular homicide hide from law enforcement and flee to Guatemala following a fatal 2016 single-car DUI crash on West Pole Road.

The Washington State Patrol booked Hugo Eduardo Raymundo-Agustin, 32, into Whatcom County Jail Tuesday, Oct. 15, on suspicion of first-degree rendering criminal assistance. Whatcom County Superior Court records show Raymundo-Agustin was transferred from the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center in Connell, where he was serving a 40-month sentence for a 2017 controlled substance conviction.

According to court documents filed Dec. 6, 2018, Rebecca M. Rosas-Avalos also is suspected of helping Luciano Ailon Garcia hide after the fatal crash.

At approximately 5:15 a.m. Aug. 28, 2016, Georgianna M. James was killed after she was ejected from a 2004 Ford Explorer after a high-speed, single-vehicle crash into a raspberry field along the 500 block of West Pole Road northeast of Ferndale.

Garcia reportedly was the driver and was suspected to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, court documents state, while James and Raymundo-Agustin were passengers.

After the crash, Raymundo-Agustin called Rosas-Avalos, according to documents, and she drove to the scene, picked up Raymundo-Agustin and Garcia and took them back to her house a few miles away on East Pole Road.

The Washington State Patrol identified Garcia as the driver and tried to locate him, court documents state, but Raymundo-Agustin and Rosas-Avalos hid Garcia and lied to investigators for weeks.

On Aug. 29, 2016, investigators spoke to Rosas-Avalos at her house and later learned that Garcia was hiding in the house while they were there, documents show.

Raymundo-Agustin and Rosas-Avalos reportedly hid Garcia at two other locations over the next couple of weeks, with one Whatcom County resident telling investigators she knew Raymundo-Agustin had a gun and feared for her and her family’s safety if she didn’t follow Raymundo-Agustin’s instructions.

On Sept. 6, 2016, Raymundo-Agustin picked up $600 wired by Garcia’s family to help get Garcia out of the country, court documents state, and a few days later Garcia was driven to the U.S.-Mexico border and dropped off there.

Court documents show Garcia was charged with hit-and-run death, vehicular homicide and vehicular assault on March 21, 2017, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. The ongoing investigation with the assistance of the U.S. Marshal Service located Garcia in his home country of Guatemala, but court documents say he is not in custody.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.
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