The man police suspect of murdering his co-worker at the Umapine Creamery is in custody.
Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan said police found Decidero Vargas-Ortiz staying at the Clover Island Inn, Kennewick, and arrested him Tuesday at about 1:30 a.m.
Early reports identified the suspect as Decidero Cruz Vargas. Rowan said Decidero Vargas-Ortiz is the name the sheriff’s office is using in this case. He explained that stemmed from fingerprinting, which generates state and FBI identification numbers.
“We were able to connect the dots between that name and a legitimate FBI number,” he said.
Umatilla County District Attorney Dan Primus said his office issued a warrant for the arrest of the suspect on the lone charge of murder and filed that count with the circuit court. However, he said, his office used the name Decidero Cortez.
“That’s one of the things we’re trying to do is ascertain who the individual is,” Primus said.
The homicide took place Monday around 6:30 a.m. northwest of Milton-Freewater at the Umapine Creamery, where Vargas-Ortiz, 52, and Luiz-Antonio, 35, of Milton-Freewater, worked. The investigation at the scene of the crime led law enforcement to look for the vehicle belonging to Vargas-Ortiz’s girlfriend, Rowan said, and Kennewick police spotted the vehicle at the Clover Island Inn, Kennewick.
Umatilla County sheriff’s detectives working with Kennewick police eventually saw Vargas-Ortiz and his girlfriend at the hotel’s parking lot, he said. The Kennewick Police Department called on the resources of the Tri-City Regional SWAT Team in Washington to take Vargas-Ortiz into custody without incident.
The sheriff’s office in a written statement Tuesday thanked multiple agencies for working long hours “making it possible to bring the case to a swift closure.” The sheriff’s office also thanked the Clover Island staff and guests “for their patience in this matter.”
The suspect is in the Benton County Jail, Kennewick, under the name Decidero Vargas. Primus said he would remain there due to the warrant until going before a judge to deal with extradition to Umatilla County.