Father Is Desperate To Find Daughter’s Alleged Killer, Arturo Munguia AKA Jesse Vega
More than 20 years have passed since Arturo Munguia AKA Jesse Vega went on the run. He stood 5 feet 5 and weighed 140 pounds at the time he fled. Munguia had strong ties to the Chicago area but could also be in Mexico, authorities said. If you have any information on his whereabouts, please submit your tips to InPursuitTips.com or text 1-833-378-7783 (3-PURSUE).
On Nov. 17, 1998, authorities in Salt Lake County, Utah said they were called to a body near a road. Local hunters came across the scene and knew they had to contact authorities. Investigators told In Pursuit with John Walsh it looked as if the victim they found "fought for her life." She had been shot multiple times, they said.
Although the body was located, detectives at the time had no idea who the victim was or where she was from. Investigators said they also discovered one big clue left at the scene — a black baseball hat with the name "JESSE" written inside. They said they did not believe the hat belonged to the female who was murdered.
There was one other major clue at the scene, something that did not match the environment. Retired Det. Keith Stephens said he recognized instantly the leaves found near the victim's body were not from a tree that could grow in that area. Stephens knew the leaves were from out of town and someone transported them there.
Later that evening, authorities were able to put together a sketch of the victim and released that image to the local news. The victim's family was watching television that night and they instantly recognized the image as their loved one, Trisha Beristain.
Trisha's sisters immediately called their father Fred Beristain, a father of four, who was living out of state. He was just in Utah for a visit with the girls when Trisha didn’t show up for a breakfast before he left. Fred said he began to make calls and verified the sketch of the victim on television was in fact his daughter, Trisha.
The family and authorities said they soon learned Trisha was seeing a Mexican national known as "Jesse Vega." Within 24 hours of the murder, authorities said they had a name and photo of the person they believed had something to do with Trisha's murder.
Authorities tell In Pursuit with John Walsh Vega and his friend Diego hopped a flight to Chicago. Eventually detectives said Diego was located, but Vega remained on the run.
Diego, Vega, and Trisha got into a truck and drove away from the apartment where Vega was staying. At some point, an argument broke out, according to Diego and Vega allegedly shot Trisha once or twice in the truck. Investigators said Trisha tried to flee and run for her life, but Vega caught up to her and allegedly fired the fatal round into her back and left her for dead on the road.
As for the leaves initially found at the scene, they matched the leaves from a tree found at the apartment complex where Vega was staying, authorities said. They also learned Jesse Vega is not the suspect's real name. Although he has a number of aliases, according to authorities, Arturo Munguia is his real name.
Fred told In Pursuit with John Walsh this about his daughter Trisha, "She was just starting her life at 19 and to be taken away, it's just a travesty. One of the promises we made as a family was that every year on the anniversary of her passing we would hold a vigil so she would not be forgotten... every year, it's like, ripping open the injury, but it's a promise I will keep until I die or until they catch him.”
Fugitive Arturo Munguia AKA Jesse Vega stands 5 feet 5 and weighed 140 pounds at the time he fled. Munguia previously had strong ties to the Chicago area but could also be in Mexico. He could be using a long list of aliases. Munguia has a large tattoo on his chest, along with other tattoos, including a Chicago Bulls logo on his chest. Munguia also has a star on his left hand. If you have any information on where he's hiding out, please submit your tips to InPursuitTips.com or text 1-833-378-7783 (3-PURSUE).