Turlock police announce arrest in 2020 murder of woman, unborn baby

Local News

Amethyst Rochelle Cortez (Courtesy of the Cortez family)

TURLOCK, Calif. (KTXL) — Turlock police said Thursday they have arrested a suspect in the 2020 deaths of a woman and her unborn baby. 

On Aug. 4, 2020, police say they went 20th Century Boulevard, near North Golden State Boulevard, for reports of an aggravated assault. 

When officers arrived around 1 a.m., they found a shooting victim, identified as 27-year-old Amethyst Rochelle Cortez. According to police, she died along with her unborn baby. 

Turlock police said they had identified a suspect, 29-year-old Robert Penzola Jr., early in the investigation. But it wasn’t until Jan. 19, 2021, that police issued an arrest warrant for Penaloza. 

Believing he had fled to Mexico, police worked with several agencies to find Penaloza. He was later arrested in Tijuana, Mexico, by local police. 

Penaloza was then turned over to the U.S. Marshals Service and brought back to the United States. 

According to Turlock police, Penaloza is now at the Stanislaus County Jail on suspicion of murder. 

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