Man wanted for 2008 Chadbourn murder arrested in Kentucky

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Columbus County Sheriff's Office returns from Kentucky with Fernando Carvajal Galarza (Photo: CCSO)

 COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — An arrest has been made in a Columbus County cold case, after the sheriff’s office received an anonymous tip that led to the suspect.

The sheriff’s office says this month it received word that murder suspect Fernando Carvajal Galarza, 59, was living in Glasgow, KY, and using the alias Jose Martinez.

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Galarza is considered one of the county’s most wanted for the decade-old murder of Luis Yanez, 33.

On March 15, 2008, at 2:45 a.m., deputies responded to 15658 Peacock Road in Chadbourn. Yanez was found dead inside the home. He had been shot in the upper portion of his body.

A husband and wife inside the home went to sleep around 9 p.m. Yanez was awake and with Galarza and at least one other man.



The sheriff’s office say a loud noise woke the husband and wife around 2:30 a.m. When the husband got up and found Yanez dead, he called the landlord. The landlord arrived and called 911.

Investigators identified Galarza as the murder suspect.

Galarza had lived in the United States for years and had married a local woman. After the murder, he left Columbus County.

Investigators thought Galarza went to Georgia to stay with family. The NCSBI and investigators with the sheriff’s office went to Georgia and interviewed friends and family, but they could not find Galarza. The case eventually grew cold until this month.

An anonymous source told the sheriff’s office they learned Galarza’s true identity and Googled him, which led to the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office website that showed Galarza was wanted for murder.

When investigators gathered enough evidence to prove that Martinez was Galarza, they contacted the Barren County Sheriff’s Office and requested its assistance in arresting Galarza.

The Barren County Sheriff’s Office took Galarza into custody.

The Columbus County Sheriff’s Office says Galarza was interviewed and confessed to the murder of Luis Dorame Yanez.

On Wednesday, two Columbus County Sheriff’s Office investigators began the drive to pick up Galarza from Kentucky to bring him back to Columbus County. They returned yesterday with Galarza and booked him into the Columbus County Jail.

He was processed and booked at the detention center, where he will be held without bond until his trial.