A soldier suspected in the murder of a Texas woman was captured Thursday at a Turlock motel after spending almost two months on the run.
David Michael Vega, 28, was apprehended shortly after 5:30 a.m. Thursday at the Venice Motel at 1114 N. Golden State Boulevard.
Vega’s capture was put into motion by Turlock Police Officer Kevin Jeffries, who was checking for stolen vehicles outside the motel. A gold Jeep Cherokee got Jeffries’ attention and a check of the license plate number revealed it belonged to another vehicle.
Jeffries checked the vehicle identification number and it came back to Vega, who had a warrant for his arrest out of Killeen, Texas for the murder of a 30-year-old woman.
It was confirmed that Jeffries was a guest at the motel and the Turlock Tactical Response Team was called to the scene. The motel’s other guests were escorted from the property and Vega was taken into custody without incident.
“I was pleased with Officer Jeffries’ awareness and calm response to the situation,” said Turlock Police Chief Robert Jackson. “The manner in which the officer responded turned a potential volatile situation into a safer solution.”
Vega was wanted by Killeen authorities for the murder of Danielle Acosta-Guerro, who was stabbed to death inside her home Aug. 17.
According to the Killeen Police Department, in the early morning hours of Aug. 17, a jogger was interrupted on his routine run by the screams of a woman coming from inside a home in the 2400 block of Haven Drive.
The jogger was joined by a neighbor and together they tried to get someone to answer the door. They heard the woman scream again and saw a light come on inside the home. With the light on the two men could see a white man in the house and saw him flee out the back door and run pass the barking dogs.
Killeen officers arrived at the home within minutes and found the woman had been stabbed repeatedly. She was rushed to an area hospital but died from her injuries.
The victim’s 6-year-old son was at the home and was also assaulted. The Killeen Police Department said he suffered non-life threatening injuries.
Investigators determined the killer was known to Acosta-Guerrero and Vega was soon named as the prime suspect.
Vega was a specialist assigned to Fort Hood in Texas. He was absent without leave from the base around the time of the murder.
“The Killeen Police Department would like to thank the Turlock Police Department, their Tactical Unit and especially the initial investigating patrol officer, whose alertness and quick response led to the apprehension of one of Killeen’s most wanted,” Killeen Police Department’s spokesperson Carroll Smith wrote in a news release.
It’s unknown why Vega was in Turlock, but investigators are looking at the possibility he has family connections in the area.
Vega has been booked into the Stanislaus County Jail. He is scheduled to appear in Stanislaus County Superior Court on Monday, at which time the extradition process is expected to begin.