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Crime News Breaking News

Oregon Police Search For Man Suspected Of Killing His Girlfriend, Leaving Body In Portland Nature Park

Kathryn Muhlbach's family alleged that her boyfriend, Jose Antonio Caraballo, had been "abusive toward her" in the past. He's now wanted for her murder. 

By Jill Sederstrom
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Portland Police are searching for an Oregon man wanted for killing his girlfriend and leaving her body in a nature park not far from their home.

Portland Police announced Monday that a nationwide arrest warrant for second-degree murder has been issued for Jose Antonio Caraballo, 43, after the body of his girlfriend Kathryn Muhlbach, 27, was discovered Friday at the Powell Butte Nature Park.

A medical examiner concluded that Muhlbach died of “homicidal violence,” although authorities have not released the exact cause of death.

Terri Wallo Strauss, the department’s public information officer, told Oxygen.com that they were not releasing any additional information to “protect the integrity of the investigation.”

Police believe Caraballo likely fled the Portland area after the killing and is now on the run. He has known associates in Oregon, California and Mexico, police said.

Muhlbach’s older sister, Jen Keller, told San Diego station KGTV that Muhlbach — who has a 4-year-old son and 8-month-old son — moved to Portland from her home in California several years ago with Caraballo.

A police handout of victim Kathryn Muhlbach

Her family grew concerned after they were unable to reach the 27-year-old on Wednesday. They drove to Portland — which is more than 1,000 miles from San Diego — the following day day and reported Muhlbach missing.

Officers received a call around 3:16 p.m. on Friday about someone deceased at the Powell Butte Nature Park, which is about a mile away from Muhlbach's home, and discovered her body.

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After arriving at the scene, officers noted “suspicious circumstances” and the Portland Police homicide unit detectives were dispatched to investigate, authorities said.

According to Keller, Carballo’s truck was later found abandoned on I-5 near the Oregon and California border.

Muhlbach’s family has indicated on social media that they believe he could be traveling along the coast, The Outlook reports.

A police handout of suspect Jose Antonio Caraballo

While Keller said police have asked the family not to reveal certain details of the case, she said the family had grown increasingly concerned about the relationship between Muhlbach and Caraballo.

“We’ve been hearing he was being abusive towards her, but never could have imagined it would lead to her death,” she said, describing her sister as “sassy,” “independent” and “confident.”

She said the family is now struggling to come to terms with the sudden death.

“The pain is immense, and we’re just in shock,” she said. “It hurts. It’s pain. Our world has changed. Nothing seems the same.”

Keller pleaded with the public for any information about Carballo’s current whereabouts and said the family is hopeful he’ll be apprehended quickly.

“She was a beautiful person and deserves justice,” she said of her sister. “She’s a young woman who had so much life to live, so much to give to this world, and she was taken from us.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact Detective Jennifer Hertzler at 503-823-1040 or Jennifer.Hertzler@police.portlandoregon.gov or Detective Joe Corona at 503-823-0508 or Joseph.Corona@police.portlandoregon.gov. Police ask that tipsters reference case number 22-326621.