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Santa Ana man arrested in stabbing death of woman found in alley

November 15, 2012 | 11:16 pm

A 24-year-old man suspected of stabbing a woman to death over a troubled romantic relationship was arrested Thursday in Santa Ana.

Acting on a tip, police arrested Luis Antonio Garcia Morales of Santa Ana without incident about 9 a.m. on suspicion of the murder of Maria Isabel Cerrillo, 21. He is being held in an Orange County jail on $1.1-million bail and has been labeled a flight risk. 

Cerrillo, a Tustin native, was found dead in a Santa Ana alleyway on Tuesday night. Police believe that Morales laid in wait for Cerrillo and stabbed her multiple times in the abdomen, said Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.

Cerrillo and Morales had been romantically involved, and authorities believe she rebuked his efforts to rekindle their relationship. Cerrillo had started seeing another man from Northern California, who was about to propose to her, Bertagna said.

"I'm told the boyfriend was planning on coming down and marrying her," he said.

Morales, a cook, has no criminal record or gang ties, Bertagna said, but police believe he was trying to flee to Mexico. He sold his 1992 Toyota Camry on Wednesday night to a Garden Grove resident in what police believe was an attempt to "gather cash" for the trip, Bertagna said. The vehicle has since been recovered.

The murder weapon has not been located.

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-- Frank Shyong

Follow Frank Shyong on Twitter.

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