The former live-in boyfriend of a Glen Cove woman has been charged with fatally stabbing her last month and was arrested in California, where he had gone in a cross-country van, police said.
Jose Rodriguez Cartagena, 54, was arrested Friday by U.S. marshals and Nassau County homicide detectives, and Wednesday he waived extradition, police said.
He is expected to return in less than two weeks to Nassau, where he will face a second-degree murder charge in the death of Yanira Estella Canjura Martinez, 32.PhotosRecent LI mug shotsDataLI crime stats
He told investigators he took a van to California, and he had barely started work picking grape leaves at a McFarland city area farm when police arrested him at his new address there, said Glen Cove Det. Lt. John Nagle.
Cartagena had repeatedly stabbed Martinez, who was on her way to pick up her 5-year-old daughter, as she walked on Pearsall Avenue on March 26 -- months after she left her native El Salvador and moved in with him, along with her daughter, in Glen Cove, police said.
She broke up with Cartagena about a week before she was killed, ending a three-month-long relationship that had started on social media, said homicide Det. Capt. John Azzata.
Cartagena was "unhappy" that she left, Azzata said at a news conference: "He was looking for her since the time they separated. He kind of knew her time schedule . . . and on that particular day he confronted her on the street."
Glen Cove Police Chief William Whitton said Cartagena "turned his cellphone off right after the commission of the crime" and investigators have not found the murder weapon.
A videotape of the crime from a nearby surveillance camera did not capture the argument, but it did record the stabbing, which took only a few seconds, Nagle said. Afterward, he said of Cartagena, "He just walks away."
Police say they believe it took about a week for Cartagena to arrive in California.
He told people there to call him "Eduardo" and found a sympathetic family not related to him who rented him a room in their house for $200, Nagle said.
"They felt sad for him, they took him in and helped him get a job," he said.
Cartagena faces up to 25 years to life if convicted and is currently being held without bond by the Kern County sheriff's office. There is also a hold on him from the United States Border Patrol, said the sheriff's website.
With Nicole Fuller