Gilroy man arrested in Merced County murder

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A Gilroy man was arrested April 26 after investigators linked him to a fatal stabbing near Los Banos.

According to the Merced County Sheriff’s Office, on April 23, deputies responded to an altercation in the parking lot of a gas station at Dos Palos Y, about 11 miles east of Los Banos.

When deputies arrived on scene, they found the victim, identified as a 53-year-old man who suffered from multiple stab wounds. First responders and paramedics attempted life-saving measures, but the victim ultimately died due to his injuries, according to the sheriff’s office. 

The unidentified suspect had fled the scene prior to the deputies’ arrival.

Israel Espinoza

After what the sheriff’s office described as a “meticulous investigation” by the Merced County Sheriff’s Investigations Bureau, the suspect in the stabbing was identified as 51-year-old Israel Espinoza of Gilroy.

Detectives worked with the Gilroy Police Department, and the Gilroy SWAT Team served a search warrant at Espinoza’s residence on April 26, but he was not found, according to the sheriff’s office. 

As the investigation continued, Espinoza was found on the 8600 block of San Ysidro Avenue in Gilroy by Merced Sheriff’s investigators, where he was taken into custody without incident.

Espinoza was booked into Merced County Jail on first degree murder charges with no bail, according to jail records.

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