Bethlehem cold case cracked after nearly 20 years

Francisco Miranda

February 25, 2013 3:50:41 PM PST
After nearly 20 years on the run, the prime suspect in a Northampton County murder is under arrest.

Fancisco Miranda, 50, was charged in the 1994 killing of Jorge Antonio Velazquez in Bethlehem.

Bethlehem Police Detective Mark DiLuzio, who played a key role in the investigation that led to the arrest, was also one of the officers who responded to the call of a deadly confrontation.

"I do remember the scene. I do remember the people involved and the emotions at that time. It does leave a mark on you," DiLuzio said.

It was the summer of 1994 when 30-year0old Jorge Velazquez was stabbed in the chest on the 600 block of Aaron Street and died a short time later at St. Luke's Hospital.

Several witnesses quickly identified Francisco Miranda, an acquaintance of Velazquez's, as the suspect, but he eluded investigators for weeks.

In time, the case went cold, but Detective DiLuzio made sure to keep this investigation on his radar.

"Many times society seems to forget about these cases, the victims' families do, they move on, police and prosecutors don't," DiLuzio said.

The big break in the case came 14 years after the murder, when informants told investigators they saw him at his mother's home in the Caribbean in the city of La Romana.

"In the spring of 2008, information was developed that Miranda was spotted and was living in a city in southeastern Dominican Republic," Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli said.

It took a few more years to actually find him, but a few months ago, U.S. Marshals finally arrested Francisco Miranda.

He was extradited back to the U.S. this past Friday.

The Northampton County DA's Office and Bethlehem police say this case sends a strong message to criminals.

"You can run, but you can't hide. We are going to continue to come after you using every resource that we have available," Bethlehem Police Chief Jason Schiffer said.

Miranda is now being held in Northampton County Prison.