LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- Sean Grebinger ran from authorities for seven years before a Brazilian federal agency arrested him on Tuesday.
The 48-year-old Lafayette man led a secret life in South America, after leaving Louisiana just weeks after the disappearance of his estranged wife, Crystal Grebinger, in February, 2013.
Gabriela Prado, reporter for Brazilian media outlet Emissoras Pioneiras de Televisão said Grebinger hopped from town to town in an effort to escape authorities.
“According to the Brazilian federal police, he arrived here after two weeks of the crime and he got to Sao Paulo,” Prado tells News 10. “And after that, he was living in Santos and he was there for a while until 2016.”
Grebinger made failed attempts to obtain a visa under false claims he was with the U.S. military.
“He was saying that he was part of the American Army and he was trying to get asylum here, but it didn’t work,” Prado said.
A marriage to a local woman granted his visa, but records show his violent past followed him to Brazil.
Much like his relationship with Crystal, who court records show filed a protective order against him not long before her disappearance, Grebinger’s new marriage showed signs of volatility.
“They were always involved in domestic violence,” Prado told News 10.
In 2017, a violent domestic call got him and his wife kicked out of a building they were living in, Prado said.
Authorities already had their eye on Grebinger. Then, he relocated from Santos to the city of Pouso Alegre.
On January 31, 2020, Grebinger got in trouble with the law yet again on charges of “violence against a woman.”
Prado said he was put in custody, but released for unknown reasons.
On Tuesday, Brazilian federal police arrested Grebinger for the murder of his estranged wife in Louisiana. He was arrested at his home where Brazilian officials say his two American children were with him, Prado said.
He was held in the Pouso Alegre Prison where his body was found Friday morning.
News 10 spoke with the local police in Pouso Alegre, who confirmed that Grebinger had committed suicide. Before his death, police said he wrote four letters addressed to family and a friend.
Grebinger was facing extradition back to Lafayette for the murder of Crystal Grebinger, whose body has not been found.
On Friday, 15th Judicial District Attorney Keith Stutes said the investigation into Grebinger’s disappearance will continue.