San Jose woman charged in Gilroy’s first homicide of 2015

Two Hispanic females, between 18 and 25, were seen on surveillance footage trying to shop with one of Robert Joseph Heiser's credit cards. Heiser was found dead just before 3 a.m. Feb. 16 in his Gilroy home. Police are urging anyone with information leadi

UPDATE: For the latest story on the developing homicide case, click here.
GILROY—In Gilroy’s first murder of 2015, police have charged a San Jose woman with the Feb. 16 killing of Robert Heiser, 56, in his home and say others might have been involved in his death.
Gabriela Bernice Ortiz, 19, was arrested and booked into Santa Clara County Jail Feb. 20 on murder charges.
She was seen smiling with another woman on a surveillance camera in an East San Jose store as they tried to use Heiser’s credit card hours after his death, Gilroy Police Department Sgt. Pedro Espinoza said.
Tips from community members who came forward after the images went public led directly to Ortiz’ identification and arrest, he said.
“Investigators continue to follow up on leads and have reason to believe that others may also be responsible for this crime,” Espinoza said.
Ortiz also is a suspect in Bay Area robberies, he said. She is scheduled to appear for an arraignment on the homicide charge Feb. 24.
Heiser was pronounced dead by emergency personnel around 3 a.m. Feb. 16, after police responded to a neighbor’s call about loud noises and barking dogs near his home in the 1400 block of Bay Tree Drive.
Heiser had upper body injuries consistent with blunt force trauma, according to police. The corner has not yet determined the cause of death.
Hours after his body was found, two Hispanic females between the ages of 18 and 25 were seen on the surveillance footage trying to buy food with his card, Espinoza said.
Some electronics items also were stolen from Heiser, he said, declining to elaborate.
When asked about motive, Espinoza said, “We suspect something like (a robbery gone wrong) may have occurred, but we don’t know that.”
Police ask anyone with information about Heiser’s death to call Gilroy homicide detective Eric Cryar at (408) 846-0330 or (408) 846-0350.

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