Vargas: A look at who killed California State Correctional Officer Elizabeth Begaren in 1998


I received the late-night phone call on Saturday, January 17, 1998. A woman had been shot and killed along the 91 freeway and East St. in Anaheim. I was assigned as the Anaheim Police Department Public Information Officer back then and was called in.

Nuzzio Begaren, his new wife and his 10-year-old daughter were in the car when they were allegedly forced off the road by another vehicle. At some point Nuzzio’s wife, Correctional Officer Elizabeth Begaren was shot and killed.

The story would be in the news for days. But from the beginning there was something fishy about it. For the detectives working the case things just didn’t seem to be adding up.

Over the next few weeks, then months I watched as a team of detectives worked tirelessly to solve the case. But results were slow to come.

The case would take nearly two decades to put together but eventually justice would be served.

Sgt. Daron Wyatt was on light duty recovering from major back surgery when he decided to give the cold case another look.

Again, results didn’t come quick, but in the end, Nuzzio Begaren would be tried and convicted for arranging the murder of his wife.

It’s often said that real life is better than any drama. The Begaren case was no exception.

If you want to hear the complete story with all the twists, turns and human drama you will want to attend the Nov. 8 Cops for Kids fundraiser, Anaheim Confidential.

The case files will be opened and you will get a first-hand look at one of the most challenging and complicated cases ever investigated by Anaheim Police Department.

You can get more information on the Facebook event site.

I’ll see you there.

Joe is a retired captain. He can be reached at