Suspect in fatal Panama City Beach hit-and-run mistakenly deported

National

Edgar Castro

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — A suspect facing 30 years in prison in a fatal hit-and-run was deported before he could face a trial, prosecutors confirmed this week.

The Florida Highway Patrol located and arrested Edgar Castro, 21, shortly after a January 20, 2020 crash that killed a pedestrian, 27-year-old Matthew Cortina, at Highway 98 and Rose Lane in Panama City Beach.

After Cortina was hit Castro allegedly fled the scene.

State Attorney Larry Basford said Castro received a $35,000 bond in the case and bonded out of the Bay County Jail. However, he failed to appear at an arraignment on September 18. Prosecutors then learned that sometime after his arrest Castro was arrested again and ultimately deported to Guatemala by the Department of Homeland Security.

“Usually, Homeland Security notifies our office when they institute deportation proceedings against a defendant when he/she has pending criminal charges,” Basford said in a statement. “Unfortunately, this did not happen in this case because the defendant had bonded out and may have been taken into custody by Homeland Security in another jurisdiction.”   

Because formal charges have been filed in the case a statute of limitations does not apply.

“The case against him is still pending and if he should return to the United States we intend to prosecute him for this crime,” Basford said.

News 13 reached out to the Department of Homeland Security Thursday but has not yet received a reply.

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