Suspect in killing of woman found dead in Santa Ana turns himself in

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Jose Valdez Jimenez, 59, of Rancho Santa Margarita appears in a photo released by Santa Ana police on May 27, 2021.

Jose Valdez Jimenez, 59, of Rancho Santa Margarita appears in a photo released by Santa Ana police on May 27, 2021.

A suspect in the killing of a woman found dead in Santa Ana last year turned himself in to authorities at the Mexican border, police said Thursday.

Jose Valdez Jimenez was wanted in connection with the Oct. 26, 2020, killing of 52-year-old Natalia Jaimes of Lake Forest, according to police. One of the detectives on the case actually convinced Jiminez to surrender to law enforcement Wednesday after communicating with the accused killer while he was in Mexico, Santa Ana police Corp. Anthony Bertagna said.

Bertagna declined to give any details on what evidence led to the 59-year-old Rancho Santa Margarita man being identified as a suspect.

Officers found Jaimes inside a parked vehicle in the 600 block of West Russell Street after responding to the area for a welfare check, according to police. Paramedics later confirmed she was deceased.

Jaimes was possibly reported missing four days before she was found dead, police said.

A preliminary investigation by the Orange County coroner did not reveal a cause of death.

Jimenez was booked into Santa Ana Jail pending filing of criminal charges, police said.

No other details have been released as the investigation continues. 

Correction: A previous version of this story gave an incorrect spelling of the victim’s last name. This post has been updated.

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