Man arraigned on murder charges after fleeing to Mexico

Yuriy Bruks allegedly bludgeoned his wife at their Cheektowaga home

Mike Baggerman
October 15, 2019 - 10:21 am

Yuriy Bruks appears in Erie County Court, where he was arraigned on murder charges from August 4. October 15, 2019 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

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CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WBEN) - The man accused of killing his wife and fleeing to Mexico was arraigned on second degree murder charges on Tuesday morning.

Yuriy Bruks, 35, allegedly bludgeoned his wife, Tetiana, at their home on Raymond Avenue in Cheektowaga on August 4. Law enforcement said Bruks called 911 after the killing. The autopsy was performed the following day and the medical examiner said she died from multiple hits to her head, neck, and torso. Between the 911 call and the autopsy, Bruks returned to his home to grab his passport and then reached Mexico two or three days later. Before leaving for Mexico, he allegedly bought a burner phone at a local Wal-Mart.

"We were probably 12 to 24 hours behind him," Charles Salina of the US Marshals Office told reporters. "Ultimately, we determined he crossed into Mexico at Laredo, Texas."

Authorities said he crossed illegally into Mexico, where he then traveled another 700 miles into Mexico City. He spent two months in Mexico.

While in Mexico City, authorities on Saturday were tipped that Bruks purchased a one-way ticket from Mexico City to Turkey. The ticket was in his own name and included a layover in Cancún. Authorities then arrested him after he landed in Cancún and extradited him to the United States.

Bruks has lived in the United States for 15 years after emigrating from Ukraine. He worked for a trucking company in the area.

"If anyone were to ever obstruct justice we will take a look at that," US Attorney JP Kennedy said.

No charges have been announced against anyone from the trucking company or Bruks' father, who brought Yuriy back to the home the day after Tetiana's death.

Questions remain about how Bruks managed to return to his home to grab his passport despite a police watch. Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said that he couldn't comment on that because it would come up as evidence in the trial but he said the passport is a moot point because he crossed into Mexico illegally.

He was remanded pending his next court date on a date to be determined. A judge assigned a new lawyer to Bruks, though it’s still to be determined if the new lawyer will be the one who represents him during a trial. Bruks faces life in prison if convicted of the murder.

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