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IN CUSTODY: Murder suspect turns himself in (updated)Tell North Platte what you think
Courtesy Photo­Image
Photo by Keith County Detention Center
Raylynn E. Garcia
Photo by Keith County Detention Center
Larry J. Derrera

Amedeus L. Leroux, wanted since Tuesday for a homicide in Ogallala, was taken into custody Thursday afternoon in Denver.

Leroux, 16, will be charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of John Fratis, 25, of Ogallala, Nebraska State Patrol spokesman Mike Meyer said. 

Leroux turned himself in to Colorado authorities, Meyer said. He was wanted on outstanding warrants in both Nebraska and Colorado.

According to a court affidavit filed by the Nebraska State Patrol, Fratis was consuming alcohol and marijuana in the home of Larry J. Derrera and Raylynn E. Garcia during the early morning hours of 2-3 a.m. on Tuesday, March 28.

At some point, a physical altercation occurred between Fratis and another man, believed to be Leroux, who is also known as “Chris,” according to the investigators affidavit.

Fratis was reportedly stabbed to death in the fight.

According to the affadavit, Garcia told investigators she heard Fratis identify "Chris" as the person who "stabbed" him. 

Garcia apparently drove Leroux in a Suburban (with a broken rear window covered with plywood) to rural Holyoke, Colo., where she dropped him off, and returned to Ogallala.

The search for Ledoux went public Tuesday night. At 10 p.m. Tuesday, the NSP contacted news media and asked the public to help them find the suspect. They provided photos of Leroux that were taken earlier that day on a security camera at an Ogallala convenience store.

The NSP alert sped rapidly via news reports and shares on social media. On Thursday afternoon, Leroux turned himself in to Denver authorities. He was wanted on outstanding warrants in both Nebraska and Colorado, the NSP said.

During the investigation, a search warrant was conducted at the home, 914 N. Spruce in Ogallala, where Fratis died. The search turned up several empty and partially empty containers of alcoholic beverages, along with suspected marijuana, residue and paraphernalia, the affidavit said.

Two children belonging to Derrera and Garcia, ages 1 and 2, have been placed in protective custody.

Garcia and Derrera are held in separate jails. Garcia is in Keith County and Derrera is in the Lincoln County jail.

Both are held without bond.

The Nebraska State Patrol thanked the Nebraska and Colorado media, as well as the public, for their help.

“The media spreading the word, and tips from the public helped greatly in this investigation,” Lt. Tim Arnold said.

Sgt. Clint Elwood of Troop D headquarters in North Platte said the NSP received many calls from the public.

“We can’t thank everyone enough,” Elwood said. “It was a very fast-moving case with lots of moving parts. I’m glad we live and work where the public and the news media are so helpful. We just appreciate the help of everyone.”

Garcia is charged with the willful killing of a family member with a weapon as well as child abuse, according to Keith County Sheriff’s records.

The specific charges against Derrera were not listed Friday on sheriff or court records.  


(This report was updated Friday afternoon. - Editor.)

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 3/30/2017
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