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Anaheim police seek 4th man in connection with 1998 murder

February 7, 2012 |  8:03 pm

Guillermo Espinoza, left, is one of four man who allegedly killed correctional officer Elizabeth Begaren in 1998, police said.
Anaheim police Tuesday night were looking for a Montebello man wanted in connection with the 14-year-old slaying of a state correctional officer on a freeway off-ramp in the city.

Three other men, including the slain officer's husband, were arrested on charges of killing Elizabeth Begaren, who was assigned to the state prison in Lancaster, police announced Monday.

Nuzzio Begaren, 50, allegedly killed his 40-year-old wife for financial gain, according to the Anaheim Police Department. Also arrested in the case were Jose Luis Sandoval, 36, and Rafael Garcia Miranda, 45, police said.

Sgt. Bob Dunn said authorities were still seeking Guillermo Espinoza, 37, in connection with the Jan. 17, 1998, killing on the 91 Freeway off-ramp.

A $60,000 reward is being offered to anyone who provides information that leads to convictions in the case.

Authorities have declined to discuss details of the case. But Anaheim police told The Times in 1998 that Nuzzio Begaren took out a $1-million insurance policy on his wife months before her slaying.

In an interview with The Times shortly after the killing, Nuzzio Begaren said he believed that the family  was targeted by attackers who wanted to rob his wife, who was carrying $4,800 in her purse after they had gone shopping at Macy's.

He said the family was heading south on the 5 Freeway when his daughter noticed that a car had been following them. Eventually, the family ended up on the 91 Freeway off-ramp and were confronted by a carload of men, according to Nuzzio Begaren.

He said his wife ran but that two of the men caught up with her. In a final plea, he said, his wife pulled out her state Department of Corrections badge and identified herself as a law enforcement officer.

"When they saw the badge, they shot her," Nuzzio Begaren told The Times. "She was dying, lying down in the blood, with the badge in her hand."


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Photo: Guillermo Espinoza, left, is one of four men who allegedly killed Elizabeth Begaren, police said. Credit: Anaheim Police Department and Los Angeles Times