A key suspect in the April 2021 murder of pregnant Gilroy native Tatyanna Mariah Lopez was found hiding out in Mexico, where he was arrested last week and transported back to California to face charges, according to authorities.
Jonathan Xavier Dorado, 20, of Los Banos, was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals Aug. 12 in Tijuana, according to the Merced Police Department. He was booked on suspicion of two counts of murder, attempted murder, gang enhancement and a probation violation in relation to the April 18, 2021 shooting in Merced that left Lopez and her unborn child dead.
Lopez, who was eight months pregnant when she was shot, was the oldest of six siblings born in Gilroy, according to local family members. She attended Rod Kelley Elementary School, Gilroy High and Mount Madonna School. She moved to Los Banos as a teenager.
The 2021 shooting occurred on the 1400 block of Conestoga Drive in Merced, according to police. Merced Police officers responded to reports of shots fired, and when they arrived they located 19-year-old Lopez and a 20-year-old male suffering from gunshot wounds.
The male victim was transported to a regional trauma center with life-threatening injuries, police said. Lopez and her unborn child died of their injuries at the crime scene.
For months, the case was “cold” due to the lack of cooperation of people involved in the incident, Merced Police said in a press release. Eventually, detectives caught a break in the investigation that led them to identify Dorado as the primary suspect.
Investigators also determined that Lopez was not the intended target of the shooting, which was gang-related, police said.
Merced County authorities issued a warrant for Dorado’s arrest. Detectives worked with agents from the Merced Area Gang and Narcotics Enforcement Team (MAGNET), to attempt to locate Dorado and follow up on tips to his whereabouts.
Investigators later suspected that Dorado had fled California, at which point local police asked the U.S. Marshals Service for help finding Dorado, says the press release. Authorities later determined that Dorado was likely hiding in Tijuana, Mexico.
U.S. Marshals worked with local police in Tijuana, who arrested Dorado on Aug. 12. He was turned over to U.S. Marshals and booked at the San Diego County Jail the same day, the press release says.
Merced Police detectives went to San Diego to take statements from Dorado on Aug. 12. He was transported to Merced County Jail the next day, police said.
Detectives are still trying to identify any additional suspects who may have been involved with the shooting of Lopez, says the press release. They are also trying to determine if anyone assisted Dorado while he was a fugitive.
Anyone with information can call Merced Police at 209.388.7712 or email [email protected]