Photo of Juan Garcia from the San Diego Sheriff's department.
Photo of Juan Garcia, from the San Diego Sheriff’s department.

Updated at 7:08 PM on Sunday, Dec. 6

A manhunt was underway for a murder suspect possibly toting a large semi-automatic handgun and headed for Mexico, sheriff’s officials said on Sunday.

Juan Garcia apparently inflicted mortal wounds on his estranged wife, at a home in the 3000 block of North Broadway early Saturday evening.

The man also goes by the names Jose Luis Paredes and Jose Moreno. His SUV was found abandoned several miles north of the Broadway home where his wife was mortally wounded Saturday afternoon.

A watch commander at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday would not say if Garcia was believed to be on foot north of Escondido, where the SUV was found, if he was suspected to have been picked up, or if there was a public safety threat.

The watch commander would also not release the exact location of the abandoned vehicle, and said homicide detectives were in charge. They could not be reached.

At 5:21 p.m. Saturday, dispatchers got a call about a woman with injuries to her upper body from a home in the 3000 block of North Broadway. The type of injuries was not specified.

Deputies from the San Marcos station found Teresa Ortiz there, injured. She was immediately taken by paramedics to a hospital where she later died, said sheriff’s Lt. Kenneth Nelson.

At some undisclosed later time, Garcia’s faded red Ford Explorer was found “at a commercial property a few miles north of where the homicide occurred,” according to a sheriff’s office press release.

“He was not with the vehicle,” the department release said.

Although a long-time Escondido resident, Garcia is a Mexican citizen and authorities said he may attempt to flee the country. An autopsy was to be performed by the Medical Examiner‘s office to determine the cause of Ortiz’s death.

Garcia is described as  Hispanic, around 5 foot 8, 170 pounds, with brown eyes and curly, shoulder length black hair. He is clean shaven and has a small tattoo on the outside web of his right hand. Garcia has used a variety of names and dates of birth. Detectives said at the time of the homicide Garcia was wearing a blue long-sleeve shirt, blue denim shorts, long white socks and white tennis shoes.

Sheriff’s deputies asked anyone with information to call the Homicide Detail at (858) 974-2321, or after hours at (858) 565-5200. Those who wish to remain anonymous can also call Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

— City News Service