Still wanted: Menlo cold case resurfaces | February 29, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - February 29, 2012

Still wanted: Menlo cold case resurfaces

by Sandy Brundage

Twenty years ago, Primitivo Silva died, shot at a gas station on Marsh Road. Menlo Park police haven't stopped looking for the killer since.

As Fugitive Watch celebrated its 20-year anniversary on Feb. 23, the police took a moment to remind the suspected shooter, Jose Pantoja Mendoza, that he's still a wanted man.

Mr. Mendoza was briefly in custody in Mexico, according to police, but escaped before he could be extradited to the United States.

Detective Christine Powell said he may have made his way back into the country. "Even though it's 20 years later, the case is still important to us," she said. "We don't forget."

Fugitive Watch enlisted the services of forensic artist Victoria Lywood to create sketches of what Mr. Mendoza, now 42, might look like today. The organization, created by two former police officers, has grown into a local television program, newspaper and website dedicated to tracking down those hiding from the law.

As part of its anniversary celebration, detectives from San Jose and Hayward, as well as Menlo Park, presented updates on cold cases from their jurisdictions. To date, Fugitive Watch has helped capture 1,205 suspects, the organization said.

Go to or call 1-800-922-8448 to share information about Mr. Mendoza's whereabouts.


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