HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – After almost 41 years on the run, Harris County authorities finally got their suspect, albeit at 76-years-old and supported by an oxygen tank.

Mary Ann Rivera was arrested in Lowndes County in southeast Georgia for allegedly killing her husband by pouring hot grease on him more than four decades ago.

She left with her children from Harris County to elude charges, according to the Harris County District Attorney’s Cold Case Fugitive Apprehension Section.

When Rivera was arrested in November 1970 for allegedly killing her husband, Cruz Rivera, she posted bond, and decided to flee the area, thus beginning what would be a nearly 41-year search.

Rivera, who returned to Texas Wednesday night, was arrested on the warrant given by the Harris County DA’s Office to the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, Harris County DA Extraditions Administrator Kim Bryant told CBS Houston.

Bryant and veteran DA investigator Chuck Lowery were able to locate Rivera by using an array of options in finding the 76-year-old alleged fugitive, including law enforcement databases, various public-record documents, and some investigation. KHOU-TV reports that there was no history of domestic violence in the Rivera home, as well as no clearly established motive for the alleged crime.

“We’ve been investigating the case since we found her and have been basically trying to make our case,” she said. “Since [the case] was so old, we had to make sure we had witnesses in place and reports in place.”

Bringing Rivera into custody is another example of the work done by Harris County DA Pat Lykos, who instituted the cold case section in 2009. Today, there are more than 500 outstanding murder cases that are 2 years old or older, according to Bryant.

“Mary Ann Rivera isn’t the first one, but one of several who have been expedited and brought back,” Bryant said. “This isn’t an isolated thing. The DA’s office here is taking a very proactive approach in tracking these fugitives down and bringing them here.”


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