The following is a press release from Lubbock Police:
LUBBOCK, Texas (PRESS RELEASE) – More than 21 years after the 1998 death of Jessie Ordonez, investigators with the Metropolitan Special Crimes Unit have made a break in the case due to new developments. Arrest warrants for manslaughter were issued on June 10th for 39-year-old Lee Lopez and his brother 41-year-old Gabriel Lopez.
Lee was taken into custody in Canyon County, Idaho during a probation hearing on June 18th. Investigators are still searching for Gabriel.
On the morning of January 1, 1998, Lubbock police officers responded to a home in the 2400 block 3rd Street for a report of an injured man lying in the front yard. The victim, 26-year-old Jessie Ordonez, was pronounced deceased less than an hour after arriving at the hospital.
Through the investigation, it was determined Ordonez was at a New Year’s Eve party at the home and had been severely beaten during a fight with two other males.
Over the years, Lee and Gabriel had been identified as suspects in the death; however, a Grand Jury failed to indict the brothers on manslaughter charges back in 2007.
Shortly after the creation of the Metropolitan Special Crimes Unit, investigators began reviewing the case. Over the course of several months, investigators re-interviewed people associated with the investigation and traveled to Idaho to question potential witnesses and suspects.
Through that investigation, detectives were able to gather new eye-witness details and additional statements. With that new information, detectives presented the case to the Lubbock County Criminal District Attorney’s Office and two arrest warrants for manslaughter were issued.
Lee is expected to be extradited to the Lubbock County Detention Center in the near future. Multiple law enforcement agencies including Idaho State Police continue looking for Gabriel who has ties to both Idaho and the Lubbock area.
Anyone with information on Gabriel’s whereabouts are asked to call Crime Line at 806-741-1000. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.
(Press release from Lubbock Police)
Use the video link to see a 2007 story from our video archives as police continued working on this case.