EDWARDSVILLE — Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Haine on Friday announced that a murder case involving the 2010 death of a man whose body was discovered in Alton has been transferred to St. Clair County for prosecution.
“I thank St. Clair County State’s Attorney Jim Gomric and the other authorities in St. Clair County for their prompt action and cooperation in this case,” Haine said. Odilon Villagran-Gudino, 55, formerly of Washington Park, was charged in Madison County with robbing and fatally stabbing an acquaintance, 52-year-old Jose “Pee-wee” Randolfo Pagoada, and concealing the death.
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The Madison County charges were filed in 2018 under seal because Villagran-Gudino was not yet in custody. The charges remained under seal until May 19, 2023, after Villagran-Gudino was returned to Madison County from Mexico, where he had been taken into custody.
The investigation continued after Villagran-Gudino’s return to Madison County, resulting in information that the fatal stabbing had taken place in St. Clair County. Madison County prosecutors then notified St. Clair County State’s Attorney Gomric, whose office will prosecute Villagran-Gudino in St. Clair County for the murder charges. Madison County Associate Judge Ronald Slemer issued an order Thursday transferring custody of Villagran-Gudino from Madison County to St. Clair County. Villagran-Gudino remains in custody.
After the resolution of the murder charges in St. Clair County, the charge of concealment of a homicidal death will be prosecuted in Madison County. A grand jury in Madison County on Thursday issued an indictment formally charging Villagran-Gudino with concealment of a homicidal death. As background, in August 2014, Alton Police were notified that youths playing around an abandoned vehicle on Seminary Street had discovered a decomposed body, which was partially covered and located in the back seat of the vehicle.
Residents reported that the vehicle had been there for a few years. An investigation revealed that the remains were those of Pagoada, a Washington Park resident who had been reported missing four years earlier, in December 2010. Detectives quickly identified VillagranGudino as a suspect, but the investigation revealed that Villagran-Gudino had returned to Mexico shortly after the disappearance of Pagoada.
Alton Police continued to investigate, despite the suspect being outside the United States, and in 2018, Madison County prosecutors filed charges of first-degree murder, armed robbery and concealment of a homicidal death against Villagran-Gudino. The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Marshals Service assisted in returning Gudino to the custody of local authorities.
“We commend the extraordinary efforts and coordination of federal and local law enforcement agencies to ensure that this defendant would finally be returned to our area to face justice,” Haine said. “Alton Police, working with law enforcement partners across the metro-east and even across the continent, have been persistent in efforts to bring this defendant to justice.” This charge and the statements made herein are based upon probable cause. The defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
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