Wanted Man Arrested for 1994 Slaying of Beauty Queen

Police in Nevada said Friday that a man wanted in the 1994 slaying of a beauty pageant competitor has been arrested in Tennessee.

Fernando Garcia Valenzuela, 33, was taken into custody Thursday evening in Whiteville, Tenn., east of Memphis, according to North Las Vegas police Sgt. Tim Bedwell.

The arrest came more than two years after another man, Joseph Javier Villezcas, was convicted for his role in the slaying of 25-year-old Tara Cleveland.

Cleveland, a model who was runner-up in the 1994 Miss Nevada USA pageant, was shot in the face in December 1994 when she followed a car and confronted a motorist after his vehicle struck hers, according to police.

Cleveland was found dead in front of a home in North Las Vegas. Her car was found near a highway in Searchlight, about 50 miles south of Las Vegas.

Police think Villezcas and Valenzuela took Cleveland's car and drove toward Mexico. The slaying had been featured on the crime show "America's Most Wanted."

Villezcas, now 31, was captured in Mexico and returned to U.S. authorities. He was convicted in 2006 of murder and robbery with a deadly weapon. He is serving a 12- to 35-year sentence at Southern Desert Correctional Center in Indian Springs.

Both men were sought in a warrant issued in Clark County in December 1996.

Police believe Valenzuela has spent much of the past 15 years in Mexico, where he is a citizen. He was arrested Thursday on a drug possession charge, Bedwell said.