Five children missing from Washington state were found and rescued as authorities took their parents into custody in Mexico, U.S. officials said on Friday. The parents, identified as Edgar Salvador Casian-Garcia, 34, and his girlfriend, Araceli Medina, 38, became the first fugitive couple to appear on the U.S. Marshals Service’s 15 Most Wanted list in February, after almost two years on the run. 

Casian-Garcia and Medina, who were wanted in connection with various child abuse offenses, including suspected sex trafficking, and the murder of a child in Washington state, set off an international manhunt and in 2021 allegedly fled to Mexico, according to the U.S. Marshals Service. 

Edgar Salvador Casian-Garcia, right, and his girlfriend, Araceli Medina.

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

The couple now faces charges for the murder of a child as well as multiple counts of child sexual abuse, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children announced after their arrest. The pair will remain in custody of Mexican authorities while they await extradition back to Washington, according to the agency. The five children who were found and rescued have been returned to the U.S. and placed in protective custody.

“We are so thankful that all five missing children have been rescued safely,” said John Bischoff, who oversees the Missing Children Division at NCMEC, in a statement included with the agency’s announcement. 

“The crimes that Araceli Medina and Edgar Casian-Garcia are charged with are heinous and we commend the unwavering dedication of law enforcement,” Bischoff’s statement continued. “This successful rescue is a testament to the critical importance of collaboration and community involvement in safeguarding our most vulnerable population.”

Authorities began to investigate Casian-Garcia and Medina after they discovered two abandoned girls, later identified as Casian-Garcia’s biological daughters, then 8 and 3 years old, at a gas station in Tijuana in late 2020. The children allegedly showed signs of “severe physical and sexual abuse,” the Marshals Service said, and they were taken into protective custody in Mexico as an investigation eventually got underway in Washington. 

Police say that Casian-Garcia and Medina took four of his biological children and an infant they share together with them when they fled to Mexico in 2021. At the time, their 7-year-old son Edgar Jr., was missing, according to NCMEC. Although the couple initially told investigators, prior to fleeing the country, that the child was staying with relatives in California, authorities earlier this year found human remains near their home in Washington that they later identified as belonging to Edgar, Jr.

The eastern Washington branch of the U.S. Marshals previously offered a $25,000 per person reward to anyone who could offer information leading to the arrests of Casian-Garcia and Medina. They face charges for aggravated murder in the first degree, four counts of rape of a child in the first degree and three counts of assault of a child in the first degree, according to the agency.