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Suspect caught in stabbing of homeless woman

For The Madera Tribune

Carlos Urias.


An arrest has been made in the murder of the homeless woman who was found stabbed to death near a rear doorway in the 200 block of North G Street, at 4th Street, according to Madera Police.

Carlos Urias, 49, of Madera has been charged with the murder of Joanne Michelle Ortero, 41, who was believed to be his companion. He is being held on $1 million dollars bond.

Otero was found by building security late on the night of December 23rd, lying on a piece of cardboard, attempting to take shelter near a rear doorway surrounded by her belongings.

Lt. Dan Foss said Otero had been contacted by police at least 40 times just in the last year, and she 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.”

Foss said the murder was isolated and being characterized as one of domestic violence, as both individuals were chronically homeless and were frequently seen together.

“We had an idea of who the suspect was and we believe they were in a relationship together. It took a while to locate him, because he was homeless. It was the video surveillance supplied by all the area business owners that was so helpful (in identifying the suspect.) Our detectives also worked through their holidays to help get this solved,” Foss said.

Urias was taken into custody without incident. Arrest records show a long record of arrests for Urias going back to 2006, including charges of burglary, shoplifting, drug possession, public intoxication and possession of a knife or dagger.

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