Authorities in California continue to search for a man suspected of stabbing his wife to death while the couple’s three children were also at home.
Chula Vista Police have identified 37-year-old Francisco Uriarte as the suspect in his wife, Natalia Uriarte’s March 29 slaying, but by the time officers arrived at the couple’s home, Francisco had fled.
“Right now, it appears that he’s trying to evade law enforcement by being in hiding but we are still actively looking for him,” Lt. Dan Peak, the department’s public information officer, told Oxygen.com.
Police were called to the home around 1:38 a.m. on March 29 after someone called 911 to report a domestic violence incident in progress, according to a press release from the department.
When police arrived, they found three children at the residence, who told police that their mother and father had gotten into a physical fight and that they believed their mother may be dead.
Officers found Natalia inside the apartment. She was unresponsive and pronounced dead at the scene.
Francisco had already fled the scene. The children had been left in the apartment, unharmed and were later placed into protective custody.
Peak said Natalia had been stabbed to death.
“The motive we believe was domestic violence-related,” he said.
Natalia's sister, Sandy Norzagaray, described her slain sister to local station KNSD as someone who was always happy and outgoing.
"I'm going to miss her so much, I miss her already because we used to talk on the phone for almost like three or four hours at a time," she said.
Peak told Oxygen.com that the Chula Vista Police Department had seen an 11 percent increase in domestic violence incidents since the coronavirus pandemic.
San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan also told KNSD that domestic violence continues to be a concern even under a quarantine.
"Domestic violence can be just as deadly as a virus and it is again the number one thing that results in death to women in terms of the scale of violent events," she said. "It's something to really take seriously and there is no excuse for violence at any time and definitely not at this time when everyone is feeling vulnerable and on edge."
Police are asking for the public’s help to locate Francisco and have asked that anyone with information about his whereabouts contact police.
“Francisco should be considered armed and dangerous,” police said in the release.
He’s described as 5’9” tall and weighing 190 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. Police believe he may have significant injuries to his hands and may have tried to seek medical attention for the wounds.
At the time he fled, he was wearing a large black overcoat, shorts and flip flops.
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