Police pick up suspect in NW killing in Calif. - The Explorer: Pima Pinal

Police pick up suspect in NW killing in Calif.

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Posted: Tuesday, July 1, 2008 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:03 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

Police in Santa Monica, Calif., on Tuesday morning arrested a 48-year-old transient suspected of murdering an elderly Northwest Tucson woman in May, according to the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff’s detectives last week issued a warrant for John Vincent Nitzke’s arrest for first-degree murder and sexual assault in the slaying of 81-year-old Dorothy Carras.

About midnight on July 1, Santa Monica police found Nitzke after responding to a call about trespassing.

Pima Sheriff’s detectives traveled to California on Tuesday to question Nitzke, who awaits extradition to Tucson.

Using DNA evidence, sheriff’s investigators had determined that Nitzke allegedly killed Carras in her home on the 1600 block of West Chimayo Place on May 22.

Early the next morning, May 23, a friend found Carras’ body in her home, near the intersection of North La Cañada Drive and West Magee Road.

An autopsy later revealed the woman died of strangulation or asphyxiation.

Investigators believed Carras was killed sometime the night before. “She had been seen by friends late in the afternoon the day before,” Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Dawn Hanke said at the time.

Carras lived alone in the Northwest neighborhood. She volunteered as a docent at Tohono Chul Park, only a few miles away.

Investigators still have not released any information about how Carras’ killer entered her home, or what the motive for her murder may have been.

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