Westbury Cold Case Suspect Nabbed in Panama

Sebastian Barba

Authorities have apprehended a hit-and-run suspect in Panama who was once featured on America’s Most Wanted for allegedly killing an 80-year-old woman in her hometown of Westbury 11 years ago.

Sebastian Barba was arrested last week and charged with second-degree murder and leaving the scene of an accident with serious physical injury.


“Law enforcement has a very long memory, and this arrest is another example of the dedication and tenacity of the men and women who serve and protect,” said Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice.

Police and prosecutors said the 35-year-old former Hicksville resident was driving a Cadillac when he struck Jean Renison at the corner of Post Avenue and Maple Avenue on the morning of Feb. 6, 2001.

Prosecutors said the victim fell on the hood of the vehicle and Barba hit the brakes, causing the victim, who was still alive, to land on the street in front of the suspect’s vehicle.

“Barba then slowly drove over the victim’s chest with the front tires and her head with the back tires while a witness screamed at him to stop,” prosecutors said in a news release.

The victim was taken to Nassau University Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

Barba fled the scene and then returned to his native Ecuador, where he has dual citizenship, authorities said.

He was detained by authorities in Panama when his connecting flight to Ecuador from the Dominican Republic landed because a “Red Notice” was placed on him by INTERPOL. He was escorted back to Long Island on Friday by Panamanian officers and U.S. Marshalls.

The U.S. Department of State, the Servicio Nacional de Imigracion and NY/NJ Port Authority police also helped Homicide Squad detectives track the suspect down.

Barba is being held at Nassau County jail without bail. Arraignment information was not immediately available. He is due back in court Wednesday.

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