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Turlock man arrested in suspicion of killing pregnant woman, unborn baby

Turlock Police said they arrested the man from Turlock suspected of shooting a pregnant woman in 2020 after his extradition from Mexico.

TURLOCK, Calif. — A man from Turlock was accused of shooting and killing a 27-year-old pregnant woman and her unborn baby in August 2020; however, Turlock Police Department said detectives discovered the suspect they identified fled to Mexico just after the shooting. 

After months of working with the California Department of Corrections and the U.S. Marshals Service to recover the suspect, Turlock Police Department booked Robert Penaloza Jr., 29, facing charges of two counts of murder, shooting in a vehicle, and being a felon in possession of a gun.

According to previous police reports, the shooting happened on Aug. 4, 2020, inside a car east of the Turlock Inn on 20th Century Boulevard.

Turlock police officers found Amythest Rochelle Cortez after responding to a report of an aggravated assault. She was inside the car and sustained at least one gunshot wound. Medical personnel took Cortez to the hospital, where she and her baby were reported dead the next day. 

Police have not revealed a motive for the shooting.

A warrant was issued for Penaloza's arrest on January 19, 2021. Turlock detectives identified a possible area where Penzloza lived in Tijuana, Mexico, and the police in Mexico used this intel to make the arrest, Seargent Michael Parmley reported.

The police in Mexico then turned Penaloza over to the U.S. Marshals Service, and Penaloza has since been booked into Stanislaus County Jail.

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