For Joselyn Martinez, it's an arrest just in time for Christmas.
On Wednesday morning, she received a phone call saying the man who admitted killing her father in 1986, but whose case was dismissed, was arrested in Miami on different charges.
As first reported by the New York Daily News, Justo Santos, 43, was arrested on federal charges for providing false information to get citizenship and a U.S. passport. He is being held on $250,000 bond and faces up to 30 years in prison.
Santos admitted to gunning down Martinez's father when she was just 9 years old. Santos was just 16 at the time of the killing and afterward escaped to the Dominican Republic. But he later returned to the United States, applied for citizenship and lived here legally for nearly 30 years.
For the past three decades, Joselyn took it upon herself to track her father's killer down online. Sure enough, she found him working as a janitor – of all places – at the Miami Police Department Headquarters. He was imprisoned for 17 months but was allowed to go free last October because the Manhattan Supreme Court, which was hearing the case, ruled too much time had lapsed between the crime and the charges filed.
"He’s in prison, even if it isn't for the murder of Jose Martinez – I’ll take it," Martinez told Fox News Latino. "It was a gift. I was in shock."
Despite the fact that her father's killer was finally captured but let go, Martinez relentlessly continued to fight for justice – pushing authorities to pursue an immigration fraud case. Outraged that her father's shooter was allowed to become a citizen after the crime, she kept pointing out to authorities that Santos lied on his citizenship application that asked whether he had ever been accused of or committed a crime.
Santos' arrest helps bring some peace to Martinez's mother, Idalia, 65, who was especially demoralized after the court dismissed the murder case last fall and let Santos walk free.
"It was a very difficult moment" Martinez said of her mother. But now, "she's very happy."
Either way, had the arrest not had happened, Martinez tells FNL, she was at peace that she never gave up on her father.
"My job was to get him arrested. That was my goal as a little girl. I was going to get him," she said.
His initial arrest in 2013, she said, "allowed me to mourn my father’s death, which I hadn’t done. It did a lot for my family. That for me was very satisfying. I don’t go to sleep with the burden on my shoulders anymore."