Raven Abaroa fighting extradition

Raven Abaroa's mug shot after his arrest (Photo courtesy Durham County Sheriff's Office)
January 31, 2010 9:00:00 PM PST
Investigators arrested Raven Abaroa on Monday and charged him in connection with the April 2005 murder of his wife, Janet Abaroa. Janet Abaroa, 25 and in the early stages of pregnancy, was stabbed to death inside her Durham home on April 26, 2005.

Raven Abaroa, 30, was arrested at his home in Montpelier, Idaho without incident Monday and charged with her death.

He has been placed in an Idaho jail without bond.

Abaroa refused extradition during his first court appearance in Idaho Tuesday.

Following the news, Janet's family issued a statement saying they are disappointed that Raven has chosen to fight extradition.

"It just does not make sense," the statement read. "We would have assumed that Raven would have wanted to return to Durham to clear his name. He has continually professed his innocence. In our minds an innocent person would welcome the opportunity to clear their name."

Durham police say they will fight to bring Raven Abaroa back to the Bull City.

They say over the past five years they never quit working on his wife's murder investigation.

"Once we had enough evidence to arrest him we made the arrest," Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez said.

Police won't say what evidence they have, just that they have a strong case.

"Strong enough to send four investigators out to Idaho to make an arrest," Lopez said. "Strong enough for the judicial system to agree with have enough evidence to hold and confine this individual. That's how strong."

Lopez says new leads and different investigators picking up the case helped lead to Abaroa's arrest.

It's an arrest friends and family of his murdered wife Janet have been waiting for the last five years.

"I'm glad he's in custody, I'm glad police have been very, very thorough," said Tim Dowd, Janet Christiansen Abaroa's family spokesperson. "We all wanted to be wrong about the outcome. We didn't want this to be the case but the evidence has led them to the point where they made an arrest yesterday."

Raven Abaroa called Durham 911 back in April 2005 reporting that someone broke into their Ferrand Drive home, killed his wife, while he was out playing soccer.

Their 6-month-old son, Kaiden, was sleeping in another room unharmed.

There were no obvious signs of a break-in, but a laptop computer was missing from the couple's house.

Janet's brother told ABC's Primetime in September that he was suspicious from the beginning.

"I knew he killed her," Mark Christiansen said. "The exact second, there was no doubt in my mind."

Janet told her family and friends that Raven said he wanted out of the marriage, that he had had multiple affairs.

Her autopsy shows she was pregnant with the couple's second child when she was stabbed to death.

Raven was a knife collector something he bragged about during a Christmas video message.

After Janet's death he moved with his son to Utah and ended up marrying his second wife, Vanessa Pond.

She later learned through Janet's family that Raven was likely the suspect in his first wife's murder.

"I was heartbroken," Pond said. "I did not want to believe at all, that he had done this."

Raven Abaroa since moved to Idaho where he's living with a new girlfriend when he was arrested.

Kaiden Abaroa is now 5-years-old.

Janet's family has hired a lawyer and plans to fight for custody. In the meantime, Dowd says Raven's new girlfriend is taking care of Kaiden.

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