Man Arrested in Suspicious Deaths of 2 Women in Escondido Area

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An Escondido Police cruiser. Photo courtesy Escondido Police.

A 33-year-old man was arrested Thursday night on suspicion of murder in the deaths of two women in the Escondido area, one in a burned-out SUV and the other in a home a few miles away.

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Firefighters extinguishing a blaze that engulfed a vehicle parked near the intersection of Country Club and Kauana Loa drives in the unincorporated Harmony Grove area shortly before 4:30 a.m. Thursday discovered a body inside it, sheriff’s Lt. Karla Menzies said.

Detectives investigating the fatality traced the gutted SUV to a residence about 2 1/2 miles to the east, in the 500 block of West 11th Avenue, near South Centre City Parkway, according to the Escondido Police Department.

Inside the home, the body of a second woman was discovered about 6:30 a.m., Sgt. Mike Graesser said.

The names of the deceased were not immediately available, and the causes of death were unclear.

Two children were found asleep in the house on West 11th Avenue, Lt. Kevin Toth said. The children were unharmed and were taken into protective custody.

Detectives arrested 33-year-old Juan Carlos Ortega around 8:30 p.m. and booked him into the Vista Detention Facility on suspicion of murder and arson, Toth said.

Police believe the two deaths are connected, but a potential motive for the murders and the extent of Ortega’s connection to the two women were under investigation, Toth said.

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–City News Service

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