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Attempted Murder Suspect in Custody

Montecito residents receive phone alerts after a man stabs his girlfriend and flees

A man accused of stabbing his girlfriend and prompting the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department to issue emergency phone notifications to Montecito residents Thursday morning has been apprehended.

By 9 a.m. Thursday, Santa Barbara police had Jose Miguel Salazar Ortega, 28, in custody. He is facing charges of attempted murder, spousal battery, burglary, child endangering and hit-and-run.

The incident began before police responded to a call about 2 a.m. Thursday and found a 26-year-old woman with deep puncture wounds to her face and head. The woman is believed to have been staying with her family in their apartment in the 800 block of West Mission Street.

A Santa Barbara police news release said the woman had moved out of the home she was sharing with Ortega and their 5-year-old child for undisclosed reasons several weeks ago. Police believe that Ortega had contacted the young woman, asking to see their child, but the woman had refused because Ortega told her he was feeling suicidal, according to police.

On Thursday morning, police say Ortega entered the home through an unlocked door and began stabbing the young woman, who was sleeping on the couch, in the face and head with a sharp instrument.

Family members are believed to have chased Ortega out of the home, and he reportedly fled in a white Ford SUV.

California Highway Patrol officers responded to a collision minutes later at Sheffield Drive and Jamison Lane in Montecito after a white SUV crashed into a retaining wall. The vehicle was abandoned and the sheriff’s department began a search, issuing phone alerts to residents in the area. 

Ortega was located later Thursday morning, when he was found in a friend’s residence on the 1300 block of Cacique Street. Police say he was arrested without incident, and that his friends, who were unaware of the assault, have cooperated with the investigation.

Ortega is being held at the Santa Barbara County Jail as the investigation continues. His bail was set at $500,000.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

 

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