Lowell Man Accused Of Helping Arkansas Murder Suspect Flee To California

SPRINGDALE (KFSM) — A Lowell man accused of helping an Arkansas murder suspect flee to California is back in Arkansas to face a charge of hindering apprehension.

Romeo Chinchilla, 29, is accused of helping Anjel Torres briefly allude authorities after Torres allegedly shot and killed a Bethel Heights man in December 2018.

Torres, 18, is charged in Washington County Circuit Court with first-degree murder in the death of Javier Nicolas-Rodriguez.

Springdale police said Torres shot Nicolas around 3 a.m. on Dec. 6, 2018, while Nicolas was driving near Pioneer Street. Police found Nicolas dead inside a vehicle that had crashed into a nearby home.

Romeo Chinchilla

Last month, U.S. Marshals arrested Jose Mendoza also for allegedly helping Torres escape to California after the shooting.

During their investigation, police learned Mendoza and Torres are close friends and might be together, according to an arrest warrant.

Police obtained a phone number for Mendoza, 18, and tracked his cell phone to Arizona.

Investigators later got surveillance video from a gas station in Holbrook, Ariz., that captured Chinchilla entering the store.

The video also recorded their vehicle, which was registered to a relative of Chinchilla's, according to the warrant.

Police issued a be-on-the-lookout (BOLO) and only hours later, a California Highway Patrol officer stopped the vehicle in Barstow, Calif.

The officer found Torres, Mendoza and Chinchilla inside and contacted the U.S. Marshals, who arrived and arrested the men, according to the warrant.

Anjel Torres

Torres also faces felony charges of committing a terroristic act, continuing criminal enterprise and three counts aggravated assault.

Torres and Mendoza have pleaded not guilty in Washington County Circuit Court for their respective charges.

Chinchilla has a hearing set for Feb. 13.

All three men were being held Monday (Feb. 4) at the Washington County Detention Center.

Police have said the investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with more information is asked to contact police at 479-750-8139 or leave a tip at 479-750-4484.

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