International fugitive and suspected murderer Derrick Yancey was returned to DeKalb County on Sept. 26 – the ending to a months-long search for the former deputy sheriff charged with killing his wife and a day laborer at his home last year.
Yancey is being held in DeKalb County Jail on the eighth floor, which is the building’s most secure area and houses its heaviest offenders, said Mikki Jones, DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman. He is on lockdown 23 hours a day and allowed one hour to spend in a common room that includes a television, she said. He has not been given a roommate.
The rest of the prison population is given up to 14 hours a day to spend outside their cells, Jones said.
Yancey was flown on a direct, commercial flight from Belize in Central America and landed in Atlanta at 6 p.m., Jones said. Representatives from the sheriff’s office, the U.S. Marshals and the U.S. State Department flew to Belize on Sept. 24 to retrieve Yancey, who fled the country after escaping from his mother’s home in April.
A judge in Belize signed an expulsion order, allowing the local government to hold Yancey in jail until U.S. authorities could retrieve him and return him to Georgia, Jones said. She added that police are not discussing Yancey’s reasons for fleeing to Belize or how he got to the country.
State Department special agents found Yancey relaxing in a bar in the small town of Punta Gorda, a coastal village on the Caribbean Sea on Sept. 19. Sheriff’s deputies were given a tip regarding a telephone Yancey was using, and federal officials used it to pinpoint Yancey’s location. After scouring the town, they found him.
Yancey was charged with murdering his wife, Lynda Yancey, and Marcial Puluc, who he had hired to work at his home. He told police Puluc had killed his wife, who was shot, and he had killed Puluc in self-defense. He was arrested Aug. 14, 2008, posted a $162,500 bond Aug. 29 and moved into his mother’s Clayton County home where his movement was monitored by an electronic tracking device on his ankle.
Having already cashed out his pension for about $18,000, he cut the bracelet and hopped on a bus headed west on April 4.
Law enforcement officials are working with the district attorney’s office to schedule a court hearing, though a date has not been set, Jones said.
“This case is the perfect example of what can happen when there is cooperation between law enforcement agencies,” she said. “We were able to reach the goal that was set, and that was to bring Mr. Yancey back so that he could face justice.”