A man who is suspected of trying to kill his longtime girlfriend by stabbing her in the face and head was apprehended this morning, according to a press release issued by Santa Barbara Police Department spokesperson Lt. Paul McCaffrey.

The case began at around 2 a.m., wrote McCaffrey, when police dispatch received a call of a stabbing assault at a residence in the 800 block of West Mission Street. Witnesses, who are the family members of the 26-year-old female victim, alerted responding officers that the assailant was woman’s boyfriend, Jose Miguel Salazar Ortega, aged 28.

Jose Miguel Salazar Ortega

The victim was immediately treated by medical personal for several deep puncture wounds to her face and head, and was then transported to the Cottage Hospital Emergency Room. She was treated further and eventually released.

According to McCaffrey, an investigation determined that Ortega and the victim had shared a residence in the 400 block of West Islay Street, but that she had moved out a few weeks ago for undisclosed reasons. The woman and her five-year-old son, who Ortega is the father of, moved into her parent’s home where the violent attack took place. Ortega had reportedly contacted the victim on Wednesday asking to see their child, but was refused after he said he was feeling suicidal.

At around 2 a.m. this morning, McCaffrey said, the suspect allegedly entered the West Mission Street home and was witnessed by family members, though they were unaware of the his intentions or the danger he posed. Ortega purportedly walked straight to his girlfriend, who was asleep on the couch, and began stabbing her. Her screams alerted the family who then chased Ortega out of the home, and he was last seen driving away in a white Ford SUV.


Around 15 minutes later, McCaffrey wrote, CHP officers responded to a traffic collision at Sheffield and Jamison Lane involving a white SUV and found the vehicle abandoned. As they were aware of the assault investigation involving Ortega, CHP officers linked the Ford to him. Considering the suspect armed and dangerous, the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department dispatched a helicopter and search dogs to comb the area and issued a Reverse 911 alert to residents in the surrounding Montecito and Summerland neighborhoods.

At around 9 a.m. this morning, police detectives tracked down Ortega to a friend’s residence in the 1300 block of Cacique Street where he was arrested without incident. Ortega, said McCaffrey, will be booked into county jail and is facing charges of attempted murder, spousal battery, burglary, child endangering, and hit and run. His bail is set at $500,000.


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