Cold case homicide detectives bag murder suspect living under assumed identity 19 years after crime

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Anaheim Police Cold Case Homicide detectives booked Leopoldo Vargas Serrano, 47, a Houston, Texas, resident, into the Anaheim Detention Facility on suspicion of murder, just days before the 19th anniversary of the slaying.

Around 2 p.m. on October 16, 2000, Anaheim Police responded to the 1600 block of North Miller Street after witnesses reported a shooting had occurred in front of a business in the area. When officers arrived, they found 21-year-old Luis Garcia Bucio, an Anaheim resident, had been shot to death. The investigation revealed Serrano, a co-worker of Bucio, shot Bucio during an argument. On November 2, 2000, an arrest warrant was issued for Serrano, charging him with one count of murder.

Attempts to apprehend Serrano following the issuance of the arrest warrant were unsuccessful, according to a press release issued by the Anaheim Police Department.

In early 2019, Anaheim Cold Case Homicide detectives, in collaboration with the Orange County District Attorney’s TracKRS Unit, developed information that Serrano had been living under an assumed name in Houston, Texas.

cold case homicide detectives

Leopoldo Vargas Serrano, 47. (Anaheim Police Department)

On September 11, 2019, Anaheim detectives served a search warrant at Serrano’s Houston residence with the assistance of the Houston Police Department. On that same date, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested Serrano for unlawful entry. Following the ICE arrest, the Orange County District Attorney’s Science and Technology Unit assisted Anaheim detectives in confirming Serrano’s identity through Rapid DNA technology.

On October 10, 2019, Anaheim detectives took custody of Serrano from the United States Marshals Service in Houston and transported him back to Orange County where he is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

According to Anaheim Police Department, Serrano used multiple alias’s including Leonardo Serrano, Leonel Serrano and Leonel Vargas. He had no known arrests using the aliases in the past 19 years.


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