Man apprehended after 11 years at large
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A Houston man who allegedly shot and killed his girlfriend in 2006 is in the custody of Mexican law enforcement officials after being a fugitive for more than a decade.

William Joseph Greer, 52, was arrested Tuesday, Nov. 28.

A Houston man who allegedly shot and killed his girlfriend in 2006 is in the custody of Mexican law enforcement officials after being a fugitive for more than a decade.

William Joseph Greer, 52, was arrested Tuesday after a joint operation by the U.S. Marshals Service, the Harris County Sheriff's Office and Mexican authorities in a remote city in the southern Mexican state of Tabasco, law officials announced Wednesday.

"He's been a chameleon for 11 years," said Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Richard Hunter.

'ARMED AND DANGEROUS:' Fort Worth mom allegedly fired gun at teenagers

Greer is accused of shooting and killing his 28-year-old girlfriend, Tammy Marie Esquivel, at their home in Spring on Dec. 19, 2006. Three days later, with the crime still undiscovered by law enforcement officials, Cleveland police found Greer wandering in a field half-naked and drunk, his car in a ditch. Dashcam video from the arresting officer's vehicle recorded Greer admitting to accidentally shooting Esquivel in the chest during a domestic argument, according to published reports.

"The gun just went off," Greer allegedly said in the video.

He was arrested on suspicion of public intoxication, but without any evidence to substantiate the confession, officials released him the next morning.

"We had a confession on video, but without evidence to match it, we had to let him go," said Hunter.

Body never found

The confession became evidence when Greer's sons - then 9 and 13 years old - told police Dec. 30 that Greer dragged Esquivel into the master bedroom of the home in north Houston. The boys related how, through the bedroom door, they heard Greer and Esquivel arguing, then a gunshot, a gurgling sound, and Greer asking Esquivel if she was alive. Then silence.

Esquivel's body has never been found.

When officials searched the home in January 2007, they found sheets of industrial-strength plastic and enough blood to conclude a person had been seriously injured, according to a 2016 news release from the U.S. Marshal Service. Greer was indicted in Harris County shortly thereafter, and a warrant for his arrest was issued. By then, however, he'd reportedly skipped town.

At the time of his arrest, Greer was going by an alias in remote Nacajuca, a Mexican town in the Yucatan Peninsula near the Guatemala border. Greer, who was living there with a woman and two children, was detained without a struggle as he left home on a scooter to pick up the children at their school, Hunter said.

In partnership with the Mexican Attorney General's Office, U.S. marshals identified Greer during surveillance several days before his arrest. Greer was conclusively identified when U.S. marshals asked him to removed his shoe, a missing toe on his left foot having been determined to be one of his more identifiable characteristics.

'El Gringo'

Sightings of Greer were reported across the country, with credible leads coming from Louisiana and Kentucky soon after he fled the Houston area. Hunter said officials believe he made his way to Mexico soon after the slaying in early 2007.

Hunter said Greer was deeply embedded in the small community; his level of proficiency in Spanish suggested he had been in the country for years. Locals knew him as "El Gringo" - the American.

"William Greer is a good old country boy," Hunter said. "He didn't speak a lick of Spanish before he went down there."

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said efforts are being made to locate Esquivel's next of kin.

Gonzalez said Greer is in the custody of Mexican officials in Mexico City, where extradition procedures to return him to Texas are underway.

Greer was listed as one of the U.S. Marshals Service's 15 Most Wanted fugitives in January 2016 and was added by Interpol to its international fugitive database last year.

St.John Barned-Smith contributed to this report.

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