Suspect in 2010 Bethesda murder appears in court following extradition from Mexico

It’s been over a decade but Montgomery County Police and prosecutors finally have a man on the FBI’S Most Wanted List in county custody. The now 53-year-old Jorge Rueda Landeros is charged in the 2010 murder of a Washington D.C. professor in her Bethesda home.

It sounds like something from a true crime show but after 12 years, Rueda Landeros is now behind bars in Montgomery County, being held without bond following his first appearance in a U.S. court Wednesday. 

He has been charged with first-degree murder in the violent bludgeoning death of American University accounting professor Sue Ann Marcum. 

Marcum was found dead in the basement of her home in the 6200 block of Massachusetts Ave. on Oct. 25, 2010. Following an autopsy, it was determined that Marcum's cause of death was a combination of blunt-force trauma and asphyxiation. 

States Attorney John McCarthy says she was well-respected and had a lot of friends, and the murder came as a shock to the quiet Bethesda community. 

When police arrived at the home and saw that a window had been forced open and the house was partially ransacked there was some speculation her death was the result of a robbery gone wrong. They noted that some items of value had been taken but several electronic items were left behind on the main level of the home. 

Police said it was clear that Marcum had fought with her attacker and determined that it was possible she knew the individual. 

As the investigation continued, detectives learned that Marcum had a financial relationship with a man she met taking a Spanish class sometime around 2005 or 2006. Detectives identified the man as Rueda Landeros and began to suspect that he was involved in her murder after they learned that was investing money for Marcum. 

Court documents say over email, she expressed concern over the large amounts of money moving through the account and wanted her money back. Police also learned Rueda Landeros was the sole beneficiary of her $500,000 life insurance policy.

Rueda Landeros, who is a dual citizen of Mexico and the U.S., frequently traveled across the border. Police believe he fled to Mexico after the murder where he stayed for over a decade under different false identities.

As the investigation continued, a Texas police department helped get a DNA sample. Court documents say that the swab connected the Rueda Landeros to the DNA found in Marcum’s home, as well as the item used to bludgeon her. By April 2011, an arrest warrant was filed against Rueda Landeros.  

The arrest was the result of a joint effort between U.S. and Mexican authorities.

According to officials, in December 2022, the FBI Baltimore Field Office received information that he was possibly living in Guadalajara, Jalisco working as a yoga instructor under the name Leon Ferrara. He was subsequently arrested in Mexico on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022. The FBI then coordinated his extradition to Montgomery County. He arrived on Tuesday, July 25 and was taken to the Montgomery County Central Unit for processing. 

 Lt. Ken Sanger with the Montgomery County Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit says it showcases the importance of international cooperation.

According to some reports, Rueda Landeros remained active on social media. It was asked today if he taunted Montgomery Police but the State's Attorney wouldn’t answer that.

A long-time friend of Marcum told FOX 5 it’s been so long, they never thought this day would come. 

"My message would be that don’t give up," said Montgomery County Police Detective Paula Hamill, who worked on the case. "You know, it has been over a decade and there have been leads along the ways – along the way that we’ve investigated, so the police department is certainly happy to have him back.

Rueda Landeros is charged with first-degree murder and unlawful flight. He is due in court again at 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 18.