Suspect Arrested In 1998 Cold Case

Salem Police Detectives, with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Oxnard, CA Police Department, have arrested a suspect in a 1998 homicide that occurred at a northeast Salem convenience store.

On the evening of May 9, 1998, Alfredo Lopez-Nabor, 16-years old at the time, was shot and killed after being involved in an altercation with several other subjects in front of a Circle K store located at 4170 Portland Rd NE. The altercation is believed to have been gang related.

The ensuing investigation led investigators to develop probable cause to arrest then 19-year old Fernando Cortez in the incident. However, he fled the area before investigators could arrest him. Detectives believed that he had fled to Mexico.

In 2008, Salem Police Detective Jamie Vasas was assigned to follow up on this case as a "cold case" investigation. Detective Vasas worked diligently to review case reports, evidence and investigatory information. His investigation revealed that suspect Fernando Cortez had likely moved back into the United States and was possibly residing in Oxnard, California under a false name.

Detective Vasas worked closely with the FBI and the Oxnard, CA Police Department, finally locating where Fernando Cortez was living in Oxnard and verifying his identity. On August 29, 2017, Detective Vasas, Salem Police Detective Grant Davis , Special Agents with the FBI and Oxnard Police Department officers contacted Cortez and took him into custody for the crime of murder. He was lodged in the Ventura County Jail and is now awaiting extradition proceedings.

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