Family wants U.S. to seek Nepalese fugitive

March 23, 2011 4:49:39 AM PDT
The Jessica Tata case has another group of families asking one question. What about us? Last year, three teenagers were killed and police told us the man accused of drinking and driving and causing the deadly crash fled to Nepal.

The families of those girls say they do feel what happened at the intersection that took their lives months ago has been forgotten because they've seen over the last few days investigators and U.S. Marshals arrest Tata merely weeks after she fled the country. Meanwhile, their international case has gone nowhere for months.

It's been eight months since that fatal DWI crash that killed the three teenage girls.

"There's a lot of sleepless nights, missing her, thinking she suffered," said Katty Alaniz, one of the victim's grandmother. "

But their pain is also accompanied by frustration, as Tata, another international fugitive, was arrested in Nigeria and extradited back to Harris County.

The mothers want to know why Tata was arrested just three weeks after fleeing and investigators are still working on their case eight months later.

"They did a lot of pressure on the family of Tata. Why can't they get the same pressure on the family of Timalshina?" said Toshiya Turner, the mother of one of the victims.

Twenty-five-year-old Sajan Timalshina was driving the SUV that killed Avianca Cortez, 13; Rashaunda Raleigh, 17; and Detrihanna Davis, 13. Despite a fatal scene, officers let him go that night, saying the field sobriety test was inconclusive but a mandatory blood sample that came two days later revealed that he was legally drunk.

By that time, Timalshina had already fled to his native, Nepal.

"They're supposed to be working hard. They know they did that mistake of letting this man just leave," Turner said.

"I want this same justice for my baby, for all of the babies. I want the same justice. I want someone to go find him and bring him back," Alaniz said.

Houston police and the officials at the Harris County District Attorney's Office say there are strong differences between the two cases.

First off, Tata is a U.S. citizen and fled to Nigeria, which has an extradition treaty with the United States. Timalshina is not a U.S. citizen. He was here on a student visa and fled to Nepal, which doesn't have an extradition treaty with the U.S.

They say those factors make the case much more complicated but it's still a priority.