ESCONDIDO — An Escondido man accused of killing his estranged wife was found dead at the scene of the crime, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
Juan Garcia, 50, shot his estranged wife, Teresa Ortiz, 47, on Dec. 5 at her residence on North Broadway near Sylvan Lane.
Ortiz was found by family members who were picking her up for an event around 5:30 p.m. and transported to a hospital where she died.
According to Lt. Kenn Nelson of the sheriff’s Homicide Division, a tip from Crime Stoppers led authorities to believe Garcia, a Mexican national, was still in the area.
“The body we found inside the house is that of a Mexican male and matches the general description of Mr. Garcia,” Nelson said prior to the confirmation of Garcia’s identity. “We don’t believe there to be any outstanding suspects in the case.”
Ortiz’s family members, meanwhile, contacted deputies on Tuesday about recovering items from Ortiz’s home.
Nelson said deputies met the family at the residence and kept them outside while they swept the home. During the search, the authorities discovered the body.
An autopsy was conducted Wednesday and confirmed the suspect was Garcia.
Nelson added the coordination between law enforcement, the public and media may have played a role in keeping Garcia from reaching Mexico.
In addition, Nelson said the family was initially kept outside the home because Garcia had been on the run since Dec. 5 and was suspected to be near the residence.
“The deputies felt that with the car (a Ford Taurus) being recovered so close to the scene, and still being outstanding, it would be prudent to exercise a little bit more caution and to keep the family outside the house. There was always the possibility he could return. In my opinion, it was outstanding work by the deputies.”
After the murder, Nelson said it was possible Garcia might have tried to flee to Mexico after he left the scene. Investigators located a truck used by Garcia at a property several miles north of the home.
Nelson said after deputies located Garcia’s red Ford Explorer, the suspect stole a 2003 silver Ford Taurus SE from the Thunderbird Driving Range sometime on Saturday.
The Taurus was discovered from the Crime Stoppers tip, near Oritz’s home, which led investigators to believe Garcia was still in Escondido, Nelson added.
He said investigators have not discovered the motivation for the killing despite numerous interviews with family members.
However, Nelson said detectives will continue with a complete and thorough investigation in an attempt to discover the motivation behind the killing.
“They will try to come up with all the reasons of why it happened,” he added.
In other police news —
On Dec. 1, officers from the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force rescued two teenage girls at a motel in Escondido.
According to the press release, the two girls — a 13-year-old and an 18-year-old — were forced to prostitute out of the motel for several days.
One man and one juvenile male were arrested.
According to the release, the 13-year-old victim was featured on a social media website catering to prostitution and escort services.
Assisting in the investigation were the FBI and members of the Child Exploitation Task Force.
Steve Puterski covers Carlsbad and Vista. For tips or story ideas, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @StevePuterski.