Henry de la Hoz, 46, was turned over to U.S marshals and was set to begin serving a 12-year prison sentence in Florida.
In 2003, de la Hoz, then 30, had been drinking at a sports bar in Miami when he fell asleep at the wheel and drove into a car of churchgoers on their way to Easter mass, killing married couple Victor and Olga Lisabet and injuring others, the Miami Herald reported.
It was a relief to the family who had been waiting nearly two decades for justice. The Lisabets' son had planned to break the news of his first child the day of the crash, and the couple would never get to hear they were grandparents.
“I didn’t lose hope,” Victor J. Lisabet, 63, the couple’s son, told the Miami Herald. “I was going to spend the rest of my life looking for him.”
A slow legal process caused five years to go by before de la Hoz eventually pleaded guilty in 2008. The judge gave him a week to get his life in order before he served his term, which gave him the time to flee the United States before his sentencing. The children of Olga and Victor Lisabet and others waited for de la Hoz in the courthouse to talk about the lives of their deceased parents, but he never showed up.
“We were waiting and waiting and waiting,” the former Miami Dade president of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, Diane Holmes, told the Miami Herald. “It became very clear he was not going to show up. It was another crushing blow for the family.”
As years went by, the case stayed open because of prosecutor Suzanne Von Paulus, who kept in contact with detectives and federal marshals, as the Miami Herald reported. In March 2016, U.S Marshals discovered de la Hoz living in Costa Rica and teamed with Interpol to take him down.
They found he had created a whole new life in his eight years on the run.
De la Hoz had a wife and 10-month old son, worked in construction and was a tattoo artist. He even started a foundation that helped children learn about martial arts.
He was arrested by Interpol in March, with U.S. Marshals picking him up after Costa Rica kicked him out of the country. He fought extradition but wasn't successful.
“Henry would like to tell the family that he is sorry,” said his defense attorney, Sabrina Puglisi. “He knows his leaving was the wrong thing to do. He is here to serve his sentence.”
De la Hoz was booked in the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in Miami Dade last Tuesday.