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Homeless woman found dead

DJ Becker/The Madera Tribune

The letters RIP were recently sprayed in orange paint reportedly near the spot where Joanne Michelle Otero, 41, was found dead in the 200 block of north G Street, near 4th Street. Otero was homeless and found late Monday night, with numerous injuries to her neck and upper torso, laying on a piece of cardboard in a doorway surrounded by her belongings. Police are asking for the public’s help with information on the homicide.


A homeless Madera woman was found dead late Monday night in the 200 block of north G Street, near 4th Street, according to the Madera Police Department. The incident is being investigated as a homicide.

Joanne Michelle Otero, 41, was found with numerous injuries to her neck and upper torso and was laying on a piece of cardboard near a back doorway surrounded by her belongings, according to Lt. Dan Foss.

“She was found by security making rounds,” Foss said. “We believe this is an isolated incident and the parties knew each other. There was no sexual assault. More along the lines of a domestic dispute. We believe it occurred between 9:30 and 11:30 pm.”

Foss said the motive for the incident was unknown.

“It appears she was taking shelter (for the night) under the cover of the rear (alley) doorway,” when she was attacked, Foss said. “Detectives are looking for information and we are interviewing other members of the homeless community. No evidence of alcohol or drugs were found at the scene, but toxicology is pending ... cause of death will be determined by the autopsy,” he said.

Otero had been contacted by police at least 40 times just in the last year, according to Foss, and was known to be chronically homeless and a heavy user of alcohol. “It’s a really sad situation, especially since she had been so resistant ... and had refused all attempts to get her off the streets, or into shelter or treatment.”

Records show almost monthly arrests for Otero, for public intoxication or drunk and disorderly conduct, going back several years.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact the Madera Police Department dispatch line at 675-4220. Valley Crime Stoppers also pays up to $1,000 for anonymous tips leading to an arrest and a conviction in a crime, called into their tip line at 498-STOP (498-7867).

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