June 15 2011
– A Mexican accused of killing an American university professor has been taunting police from across the border.
Jorge Landeros, who has been charged with killing Sue Marcum, an accountant and professor at American University, Washington, is refusing to return to the U.S. for questioning.
He has suggested detectives travel to Juarez to meet him in a cafe for brunch to ‘talk shop’ however – his ‘treat’.
The 41-year-old also corrects their grammar in email correspondence.
Ms Marcum, 52, was found beaten and strangled to death inside her home in Bethesday, Maryland, last year.
Police initially thought she had been the victim of a robbery gone wrong, but they later turned their investigation onto Landeros, who shared a close relationship with Ms Marcum.
The pair met six years ago when Ms Marcum enrolled in Landeros’ Spanish class, according to police.
Landeros, who holds a duel American / Mexican passport, wrote poetry, studied yoga and was a stock-broker. Together they practised meditation, read books and went to concerts.
At one point they did become more than friends, but that quickly fizzled according to Landeros himself.
According to friends Ms Marcum was ‘fascinated’ with Landeros. She even left her half-million dollar life insurance policy to him in her will and he to her, according to the Washington Post.
Victim: Sue Marcum, who had been friends with Landeros for six years, was found beaten and strangled in her Maryland home last year
‘We always talked about what would happenwhen we got older,’ Landeros said with reference to the policy.
‘We would help each other, I guess… We took it out for that reason.’
He has not had the money yet. It is currently tied up due to the circumstances surrounding Ms Marcum’s death.
Landeros denies killing Ms Marcum and told the Post he was not in the U.S. in late October when she was found dead.
‘I had nothing to do with the murder of Sue Marcum. That was not me,’ Landeros said in an email to the paper.
He added: ‘They (police) want me to just turn myself in, like some silly scapegoat.’
Warrant: Landeros says he did not kill Ms Marcum, but is on Interpol’s wanted list
Police will not discuss the case other than to confirm they did get a DNA sample when Landeros travelled to Texas this year.
They later obtained a warrant charging him with first-degree murder and are now working with Interpol and Mexican authorities in order to locate him – a process that takes times, according to police.
Landeros moved to Mexico in 2008 in order to teach yoga in notoriously violent Juarez, but he still visits his mother, who lives in Northern Virginia.
He told the Washington Post he had visited Ms Marcum in September just a month before her death.
They went for a walk, talked, ate and watched TV, he said. His fingerprints and DNA would have been in the house from that visit alone.
‘It doesn’t look good. That’s why I’m here in Mexico,’ he said.
Meanwhile Ms Marcum’s friends remain frustrated.
‘If he’s so innocent, why is he staying in Mexico?’ fellow accountant Don Williamson, told the Washington Post.
‘She was fascinated by that man. She was a loving, beautiful, vulnerable woman.’
– Amy Oliver