Suspect identified in murder of man and dog near The Grotto

UPDATED: HOMICIDE SUSPECT NOW IN CUSTODY  Officials are on the trail of the man they suspect of murdering a Madison South neighborhood resident – and killing his little dog, also …

Police detectives and criminalists work into the evening in this outer East Portland apartment complex, after a resident and his dog are found slain.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The serenity of a picturesque affordable senior living community apartment complex called The Heights at Columbia Knoll was disrupted by a crime that shocked residents the afternoon of February 27.

“We’ve never had any problems around here, so I was shocked to see so many police cars come in here this afternoon,” resident Mabel Makerton told East Portland News, as she looked at the crime scene tape while taking her dachshund, Earnest, out for an evening walk.

The Portland Police Bureau “Mobile Precinct”, parked on the property, provides a place, out of the weather, for detectives and criminalists to meet and work.

Events began to unfold at 3:44 p.m. on the property that was the former site of the circa 1923 Old Shriner’s Children’s Hospital bordering NE 82nd Avenue of Roses and Sandy Boulevard.

“East Precinct officers responded to the report of a deceased male and a deceased dog inside a residence,” said Portland Police Bureau Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson.

The Multnomah County Medical Examiner responded to the scene to begin the death investigation, Simpson said. “Based on observations at the scene, Homicide detectives are responding to further the investigation,” he added.

This man, Eleazar “Tony” Herrera Villegas, is found murdered in his residence.

The following day, Simpson revealed that 59-year-old Eleazar “Tony” Herrera Villegas was the man they found deceased inside the residence, along with his deceased Jack Russell Terrier named Max. “The Medical Examiner determined that Herrera Villegas died of homicidal violence,” Simpson said.

Herrera Villegas resided at the apartment with his girlfriend, he added, who is cooperating with investigators, and is not a suspect.

Homicide Detectives walk up and away from the scene of the crime.

“During the course of the investigation, Homicide Detectives developed information that 33-year-old Alex Rico Ortiz was the suspect in a sexual assault that occurred earlier [the day of the murder] at a nearby hotel, and ran from that scene when police were called to investigate,” Simpson stated.

The Red Roof Inn and Evergreen Motel Extended Stay are located directly south of the apartment complex where Herrera Villegas was killed.

“Detectives further learned that Ortiz was wanted in Hillsboro in connection with a sexual assault that occurred in mid-February,” Simpson said.


Murder suspect 33-year-old Alexander Rico Ortiz is now in custody. MCDC booking photo

On March 3, 2017, at 9:40 p.m. the Hillsboro Police Department and Washington County Tactical Negotiation Team in cooperation with the Portland Police Bureau Detective Division Homicide Unit, arrested 33-year-old Alexander Rico Ortiz for multiple arrest warrants.

Ortiz was arrested in Hillsboro, Oregon for multiple warrants, and booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 2:09 a.m. on March 3, on charges of Aggravated Murder, two separate counts of Rape in the first degree, Aggravated Animal Abuse in the first degree, and an Oregon State Parole Violation.

In lieu of $500,000 bail – and due to a Oregon State Parole Violation “Hold”, Ortiz remains in custody at MCDC.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Detective Mark Slater at 503-823-9319, or Detective Erik Kammerer at 503-823-0762,

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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