Lakeville man arrested, suspected in 1980s Texas killing

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH and EMMA NELSON , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: August 13, 2014 - 11:30 PM

Hearing Thursday will address whether Robert Otteson will fight extradition to Texas.

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Robert Otteson, of Lakeville, was indicted in a 1980s homicide in Texas.

Photo: Dakota County jail,

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A 53-year-old Lakeville husband and father who has lived in the Twin Cities for 25 years or more is in jail on suspicion of fatally stabbing a man in a Texas hotel more than 30 years ago.

Police arrested Robert A. Otteson shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday at his home, and he was booked into the Dakota County jail in Hastings. A Thursday court appearance will address whether the defendant will challenge his extradition to Texas.

Otteson is accused of killing 42-year-old San Antonio businessman Francisco Narvaez in 1983 in a hotel room, police in Denton said Wednesday afternoon. Narvaez’s car was found in northeast Oklahoma City several hours after his body was found.

“New leads were developed and evidence was discovered that led to the indictment,” Denton police said in a statement, which did not elaborate on how they broke the case. A Texas grand jury indicted Otteson on Friday, ahead of his arrest by Minnesota authorities with Denton police investigators present.

In 2011, Denton police were retracing their steps in Oklahoma City, where they believe the killer had abandoned Narvaez’s car. Police added then that waitresses at the Denton hotel’s restaurant reported seeing Narvaez having breakfast with an unknown man the day before Narvaez’s body was discovered.

“As you can imagine, the wife in this situation is kind of gobsmacked,” said Tyler Bliss, a Twin Cities attorney who will represent Otteson during Thursday’s extradition proceeding. “The family is in a really difficult situation, and they request privacy.”

Bliss declined to say anything further, including whether Otteson would fight his return to Texas.

Otteson has been living in Lakeville with his wife and children, since the mid-1990s. Court records show he has stayed out of trouble with the law, other than a smattering of traffic tickets since the late 1980s.

Xcel Energy said Otteson works for the utility as a mechanic at its White Bear Lake Service Center. His online work experience bio says he has been employed by Xcel since 2009 and did truck repair for Cemstone Products Co. for four years before that.

His résumé starts in 1989 with employment at Northwest Airlines, which lasted 14 years and included supervising and performing various duties relating to ground equipment at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

‘An excellent neighbor’

Dakota County property records show that Otteson and his wife bought a home on Fieldcrest Avenue in Lakeville in 1997, and they’ve lived there ever since. The 1,700-square-foot split-level home was new when they bought it and was most recently valued at a little more than $200,000, the records indicate.

Someone was at the Otteson home Wednesday morning, but no one answered a knock at the door.

A longtime resident in the neighborhood said he’s hoping the allegations aren’t true, noting Otteson has been “an excellent neighbor” in the 17 years their families have lived across the street from each another.

“We didn’t hang out a lot, but you could always count on Rob if you needed something,” said Scott Schultz, who moved into his home about the same time as the Ottesons.

Schultz said he knew that Otteson once worked for Northwest and now is a mechanic, Schultz said. He would fix Schultz’s lawn mower and snowblower, when needed, the neighbor added.

The couple lived in Savage in the early 1990s, according to court records, and his wife gave birth to a son during that time. They also have a daughter in her early 20s.

Otteson’s online résumé says he’s currently studying at Capella University and has previously attended Dakota County Technical College.

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  • Authorities in Texas released this suspect sketch in connection with the killing of Frank Narvaez in 1983.

  • A man wanted in a long-ago murder in Texas has lived in this Lakeville home since the late 1990s.

  • Caption: Robert Otteson Credit: Dakota County jail

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