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Fernando Cortez arrested in Southern California nearly 20 years after homicide

COURTESY PHOTO: OXNARD POLICE DEPARTMENT - Fernando CortezA man wanted in the 1990s murder of a Woodburn teenager was arrested in Southern California in late August.

Fernando Cortez, 38, suspected of killing 16-year-old Alfredo Lopez-Nabor, was arrested in Oxnard, California on Aug. 29.

Lopez-Nabor died on the evening of May 9, 1998, after being shot during an altercation with several people outside a Salem convenience store. The altercation is believed to have been gang-related.

Not long after Lopez-Nabor's death, investigators developed probable cause to arrest Cortez, who was 19 at the time. However, Cortez fled to Mexico before investigators could arrest him.

A decade later, a Salem police detective reopened the investigation as a cold case. Detective Jamie Vasas in 2008 began reviewing case reports, evidence and investigative information. His investigation revealed that Cortez had likely moved back into the United States and was possibly living in Oxnard under a false name.

Working with the FBI and the Oxnard Police Department, Vasas located Cortez in Oxnard and verified his identity.

Vasas, along with another Salem police detective, Oxnard Police Department officers and FBI agents, arrested Cortez on Aug. 29 and took him into custody.

Jail records show that Cortez had been employed as an industrial maintenance worker. According to the Oxnard Police Department, he had been using the alias Moises Garibay.

Cortez is lodged in the Ventura County Jail in California. He has an extradition hearing scheduled for Sept. 28 in Ventura County. If extradited, he will be transported to Oregon to face the murder charge.


Julia Comnes can be reached at 503-765-1195 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
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