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Record setting manhunt for murder suspect ends in arrest near Cle Elum WA

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Click the image above to hear the KOMO News coverage of the arrest of a murder suspect finally captured after hiding out for more than three weeks northeast of Cle Elum WA

The "largest manhunt in county history", according to Kittitas County officials, ended with the arrest of a murder suspect hiding out in the mountains near Teanaway valley northeast of Cle Elum WA.

Jorge Alcantara-Gonzalez was arrested by the Kittitas County Sheriff's Department yesterday afternoon for the murder of Ian Eckles, a 41-year-old Kent WA man who had been missing since May 17. Alcantara-Gonzaelz was spotted in Eckles's SUV by sheriff's deputies on May 23rd. Alcantara-Gonzalez fled that SUV and disappeared into the forest where he has been believed to be hiding in the wilderness ever since.

Eckles was reported missing when he didn't meet friends for a hunting trip in the area along Highway 97 northeast of Cle Elum on May 17.

Alcantara, according to law enforcement, was known to be armed and dangerous and deputies say he was very familiar with the forested area where he was hiding. Deputies believe he is also responsible for several break-ins at homes in the Teanaway area.

Kittitas County Sheriff Clay Myers said, “The arrest of Jorge Alcantara concludes an uncertain and dangerous time for our County, especially for residents of the affected area. We are deeply grateful for the assistance of the residents of the Liberty and Teanaway areas, who have been constantly supportive throughout this time. We can now turn our attention to the successful prosecution of the crimes this suspect has committed and, most urgently, to finding and recovering the body of Ian Eckles and giving his family peace.”

Eckles body has not been found.

The arrest occurred when a Teanaway resident saw someone inside the house of a neighbor and called 911. Deputies from the sheriff's office, US Forest Service, and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife surrounded the home and called Alcantara out.

Officers say he walked out and was taken into custody without incident. Alcantara was previously identified in news reports as an illegal alien.

In March 2019 a Kittitas County Sheriff's deputy was killed and an Ellensburg Police officer wounded in a shootout with an illegal alien. A car chase and shoot out ensued after a traffic stop. Deputy Ryan Thompson was killed in that shoot out with the illegal alien. Officer Benito Chavez survived that 2019 shooting after medics flew the 22-year-old officer to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

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