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On November 12, 2009, at about 1:54 p.m., married couple Charles Suresh and Shiji Varghese and their 6-year-old daughter Lisa Xavier were driving in their vehicle, a Toyota Camry, on Willow Road at the Bayfront Expressway. Charles Suresh was driving with his wife Shiji in the front passenger seat and their daughter Lisa in the back seat of the vehicle. As Mr. Suresh proceeded into the intersection of Willow and Bayfront on a green light, two vehicles, a Ford Mustang and Honda Prelude, which were racing each other N/B on Bayfront at speeds approaching 80 MPH, ran the red light at the intersection of Willow Road. The Ford Mustang crashed into the Toyota Camry, causing major damage to both vehicles. The vehicles spun out of control and the Toyota Camry collided with another vehicle in the intersection, causing minimal damage to that vehicle.
Several witnesses called 911 and as police and EMS were responding, the driver of the Ford Mustang exited his vehicle, got into the vehicle he was racing with and both suspects escaped from the scene. Officers arrived on scene shortly thereafter and found 6-year-old Lisa critically injured and her mother Shiji severely injured inside the vehicle. Charles Suresh was uninjured in the collision.
Officer David Apple, who was one of the first on scene, attempted to render aid to Lisa while waiting for fire and paramedic units to arrive. Lisa was transported to the Stanford Trauma Center where she was later pronounced dead due to the trauma sustained in the crash. Shiji was treated at the hospital and eventually recovered from her injuries.
An investigation began immediately in an attempt to identify the driver of the Ford Mustang. Officer Paul Phu led the investigation of the collision and then enlisted the aid of the Menlo Park Police Investigations Unit. Sergeant Brackett, who was then a detective under the supervision of Detective Sergeant Jaime Romero, was assigned to assist along with numerous other investigators and officers. The investigation revealed through physical evidence and witness statements that Shannon Steven Fox was the driver of the Ford Mustang that crashed into the victim’s vehicle.
Attempts were made to locate Fox, who had an address in East Palo Alto at the time. We later learned through our investigation that he fled the region shortly after the crash, and although we believe he knew he caused a fatality, he traveled to the U.S./Mexico border and crossed into Mexico, and eventually into Central America.
These officers and detectives continued to investigate this case, garnering enough probable cause to request a criminal grand jury review. In June 2010, the District Attorney’s Office presented the case to the San Mateo County Criminal Grand Jury, which returned an indictment against Shannon Steven Fox. An arrest warrant for half a million dollars was issued for Fox alleging the crimes of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, felony hit and run causing death, and participating in a speed contest.
Our Investigators sought the aid of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who were able to secure a no bail “Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution” (UFAP) warrant for the arrest of Fox in July 2010. This gave us the tool needed to be able to request the extradition of Fox, if he was located.
Investigators continued to attempt to track Fox while our partners at the FBI communicated with law enforcement partners and liaison officers in Central America. The investigation revealed that Fox was living a normal life in Central America and may have been helped by relatives there.
Through the last eight years, Menlo Park Investigators have attempted to locate and have Fox taken into custody with the help of the FBI. Due to promotions and staffing changes, the case was later transferred to Detective Jason Poirier who is supervised by Sergeant Ed Soares. This case never went dormant, and through the years, we have kept it active attempting to locate Fox.
In December 2016, working with Law Enforcement partners and liaison officers in Guatemala, the FBI was able to locate Shannon Steven Fox, and at our request, he was arrested by the Guatemalan authorities. For almost two years, the FBI, assisted by the United States Attorney’s Office and U.S. State Department, endeavored to have Fox extradited back to our country to face trial for the death of Lisa Xavier. Fox and his attorney’s attempted to fight his extradition through the Guatemalan court system, but in April of this year, Fox lost his final appeal to the Guatemalan Supreme Court, and was ordered to be extradited back to the United States.
On August 28, 2018, at about 8:30 p.m., Shannon Steven Fox, escorted by FBI agents, landed at SFO and was taken into custody by Menlo Park Police Investigators. He has been booked into the San Mateo County Jail.
Refer to Menlo Park Police case 09-3015.