There was an atmosphere of relief as a crowd gathered at the Jones County Courthouse Tuesday for the announcement of an arrest in a series of rapes in two states, dating back to 2005.
"I'm so thankful today to be able to announce to you the arrest of Miguel Oros," said Jones County Sheriff Alex Hodges.
The suspect, 33-year-old Miguel Oros, of Tabasco, Mexico, is in custody there, charged with the rape of five women over a 2-year period in Jones County, Miss., one in Lauderdale County, Miss., and one in New Iberia, La. The victims ranged in age from 59 to 87.
Investigators say fingerprint evidence helped lead to the arrest.
"He has been indicted already by a Jones County grand jury, in both Laurel and Ellisville, on multiple counts from sexual assault to burglary of a dwelling," said Jones County district attorney Tony Buckley.
Officials said the first rape happened in Lauderdale County in 2005. Jones County’s first reported assault occurred in October 2005. Three assaults occurred in 2007. In March of 2009, a fifth assault occurred in Jones County. The last reported rape occurred in August 2009 in Louisiana.
Officials said Oros has been in Mexico since October 2009. He had been in the U.S. on a work visa as far back as 2003, but authorities would not comment further on Oros' status when the rapes occurred.
Local authorities are working with the U.S. Department of Justice and the government of Mexico to extradite Oros to Mississippi to face the charges. That's expected to happen in 30 to 60 days.
Mississippi Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, who was present for the announcement, is assisting local and state authorities as they work with the Justice Department to get Oros back in the U.S. to face the charges.
"I'm sure some people would say it shouldn't be that hard, with two countries working together, but again to try to get someone extradited out of Mexico, one of their citizens, is not an easy task," said Bryant.