CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Authorities asked the public Wednesday to keep an eye out for an 18-year-old Mexican national suspected of fatally stabbing a co-worker last week during an argument at the victim’s South Bay home.
Joe Andrew Cortez allegedly killed 44-year-old Rene Pressa of Chula Vista early Thursday.
Carmen Saucedo, the owner of Broadway Diner where Pressa worked, told FOX5 Pressa was trying to help Cortez find a permanent job and showed him what they did at the restaurant.
“They were cleaning grease until late that night,” said Saucedo.
After Cortez’s first night on the job, he went to Pressa’s home, police said. Cortez apparently was injured during the altercation and left a blood trail leading away from Pressa’s Third Avenue apartment, CVPD Lt. Fritz Reber said.
The suspect was believed to have walked, barefoot and clad in shorts and a black tank top, to the U.S.-Mexico border before crossing into Baja California and returning home, the lieutenant said.
The suspect walked to the San Ysidro border crossing where surveillance video show the suspect walking into Tijuana, investigators said.
Police and U.S. Marshals Service personnel coordinated with Mexican authorities to arrest Cortez at his Tijuana residence, but he had fled by the time officers arrived.
The suspect was described as a 5-foot-5-inch, roughly 150-pound Latino with black hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information about his whereabouts was asked to call San Diego County Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477, or email the agency at sdcrimestoppers.org. Tipsters may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.
“Rene was my best employee,” said Saucedo “Rene was a hard worker, my right hand man and a very, very good friend and I’m going to miss him.”