Local News

Suspect in Durham County homicide arrested in New Orleans

Posted August 14, 2015 2:50 p.m. EDT
Updated August 14, 2015 3:43 p.m. EDT

Edu Antonio Varela-Lopez, aka Tony Ochoa

— The suspect in the June shooting death of a Durham man was arrested this week while hiding at a construction site in New Orleans, authorities said Friday.

Franklin Martinez, 26, was found dead on June 28 on the side of the northbound entrance ramp to Interstate 85 from Redwood Road. He had been shot three times.

Investigators issued an arrest warrant for Edu Antonio Varela-Lopez, charging him with first-degree murder in Martinez's death, and had been searching for him for weeks.

They tracked him to New Orleans, where he was staying with family members. On Tuesday, New Orleans police and other Louisiana law enforcement agencies apprehended Varela-Lopez at a housing project under construction following a brief manhunt, authorities said.

Varela-Lopez, who also goes by the name Tony Ochoa, is awaiting extradition to North Carolina, where he also faces a 2014 charge of possession of a concealed handgun.

"Our thoughts are with the family of Franklin Martinez," Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews said in a statement. "We hope that, with the apprehension and arrest of this individual, this will be able to assist them in the healing process of their loved ones."