Police ID murder suspect; identifying victim not as easy

City police have identified and arrested a murder suspect — but figuring out the identity of his alleged victim would prove to be a bigger challenge.

Early Monday, police were called to the 3200 block of Leverton Ave. near Highlandtown after a witness said he had heard muffled screams and saw Jose Villatoro inside the home holding a knife, officials said. The witness fled and called police.

When officers got there at about 5 a.m., they called out to Villtatoro and observed him trying to escape through a window, police said. He was taken into custody. Inside the home, police found a dead woman in a bedroom. She was suffering from stab wounds to her body and neck area, police said.

Villatoro, 25, who lived in the home, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, and was being held without bond. At the scene late Monday, a second-floor window remained open and no one answered the door. One neighbor said the people who lived there were quiet and friendly; the other did not speak English.

Police had collared a suspect, but would have to work backwards to find out the identity of their victim. All they knew was that she was a black female.

On Tuesday afternoon, police received a phone call from the state medical examiner's office confirming the woman's identity. She is a 23-year-old, according to Detective Donny Moses, a police spokesman, and officers were working to contact her next of kin.

Her relationship to Villatoro — if any — was not clear.

Nearly halfway through the year, the Southeastern District has had the fewest homicides of any district in Baltimore, with five. In all of 2009, the district had 27 killings.


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