Logan County Sheriff Boyd Hicks recently went to California. It wasn’t to take a vacation.

Hicks, and Deputy Sheriff Tyler Porter traveled the 1,584 miles from Logan County to the San Diego County Jail to pick up Robert Melton, 53, who has been charged with first degree murder in connection with the April 2015 killing of Ritchie Lynch of Booneville. Melton, after being arrested and released from the Logan County Detention Center in Paris, has been on the run since 2016 He was arrested on July 11 by U.S. Border Patrol agents while trying to enter the United States from Mexico, according to Hicks.

Melton appeared before 15th Judicial District Circuit Judge Jerry Don Ramey on Friday, Aug. 28 after being brought back to Arkansas. Ramey set Melton’s bond at $100,000 cash and he remains in jail.

Melton was arrested in March 2015 and failed to appear in court on Dec. 16, 2016.

“It was around this time that he fled the state,” Hicks said last week. “He claims he went to Mexico to get medical treatment. He does have heart issues.”

After getting word of Melton’s July 11 arrest, Hick and Porter left Logan County for California on Monday, July 24. It took two days to get to California and another two to return to Logan County. On the way back, Hicks and Porter spent the night in Gallop, N.M. while Melton was held in the McKinley County, N.M. jail. The three arrived back in Logan County at 10 p.m. on Thursday, July 27, Hicks said.

“My wife asked what was the prettiest thing I saw on the trip,” Hicks said Friday. “I told her the welcome to Arkansas sign.”

Had an agreement not been reached in court Friday, Hicks would be on another trip to California this week to pick up another fugitive.

“The defense attorney and prosecution reached an agreement,” Hicks said. “She will post a bond and be released in California and appear in court here,” Hicks said.

Four other defendants charged in connection with the Ritchie Lynch slaying have pled guilty and been sent to prison.