Husband faces 1st-degree murder in Carbondale stabbing
Authorities on Tuesday identified the suspect in last week’s Carbondale homicide and said he would face first-degree murder charges.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation said Arturo Navarrete-Portillo, 46, would be charged in the Feb. 16 stabbing death of his wife, Maria Carminda Portillo-Amaya, 30.
Navarrete-Portillo remains hospitalized in Grand Junction with what authorities have described as non-life-threatening injuries from his traffic accident, thought to have occurred shortly after the slaying.
The CBI said he is not yet “medically eligible for release” from the hospital, and it’s not known when he will be.
“Once Navarrete-Portillo is released,” the agency said, “he will be formally arrested and taken to the Garfield County Jail.”
The case, Carbondale’s first homicide in 12 years, started with a bizarre twist.
At about 7:15 a.m. Feb. 16, a Toyota 4Runner driven by Navarrete-Portillo smashed into the back of an empty cattle truck that was about to make a left turn off of Highway 133 just south of Carbondale city limits.
Navarrete-Portillo was first taken to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs in an uneventful ambulance trip described as “textbook” by Carbondale rescuers. After initial treatment, doctors at Valley View decided he should go to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction.
According to police, while being flown to Grand Junction, Navarrete-Portillo told a life flight crew he had killed his wife before the accident.
Carbondale police went to apartments on Cooper Place, just west of downtown and less than 2 miles from the accident site, to check apartments. Everyone they found at first was fine.
When a woman came home at about 3:45 p.m., police asked to search her apartment. She declined, but went inside to find Portillo-Amaya, who also lived there, stabbed to death. Garfield County Coroner Robert Glassmire conducted an autopsy and determined that she had died from “multiple sharp force injuries.”
It’s not known, but presumed, that Navarrete-Portillo also was a resident of the apartment. Further details weren’t available; the CBI news release said the arrest warrant in the case had been sealed.
It is Navarrete-Portillo’s first felony charge in Colorado. He was arrested in Aspen for driving under the influence in March 2004 and in Basalt on the same charge in September 2014.
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Garfield County counted five new deaths attributed to COVID-19 over the past six weeks, even as the county’s vaccination rate continues to go up.