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CA suspect ID’d, still on the run after beheading girlfriend with samurai sword and dumping body: police

A samurai sword. (Auckland Museum/ WikiCommons)
July 03, 2018

On Friday, a California man was charged in the beheading death of his girlfriend after his DNA was found on the murder weapon, a samurai sword.

The suspect, 33-year-old Jacob Gonzales of Los Banos, California, is on the run, and police believe he is armed and dangerous, and in Merced County in California, the Island County Sheriff’s Office in Washington state said.

Prior to finding the decapitated body of 26-year-old Katherine Cunningham on March 3, Gonzales was charged with firearms and vehicle theft, the Daily Mail reported last week.

Cunningham’s body was discovered in a remote Washington location on Camano Island.

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Detectives found a bunker that contained supplies, ammunition and firearms in the hillside close to Cunningham’s body.

Police found Cunningham’s Honda Civic about 560 miles away in Yreka, California, with a samurai sword in the trunk.

DNA reports came in on Wednesday confirming that Cunningham’s blood was on the blade of the sword, and Gonzales’ DNA was on the hilt.

The sheriff’s office said in a statement: “Based on those results, we amended the charges on Friday,” and upgraded Gonzales’ charges to “domestic violence murder in the second degree, while armed with a deadly weapon.”

A $1 million warrant is in effect for Gonzales’ arrest.

Gonzales is described as being about 5-foot-9-inches tall and weighing approximately 150 pounds; he has black hair with hazel eyes.

The DNA evidence has given some relief to Cunningham’s family, but they hope to get answers on Gonzales’ whereabouts soon.

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Katherine’s sister, Emma Cunningham said: “But we still don’t have the answers, that’s what holding us here. What led to this happening? We still can’t find Jacob. This is pretty much what everybody has been waiting for, (for authorities) to come out with this information (and charge him with murder.)”

Emma Cunningham shared that the family knew about the samurai sword but that they couldn’t disclose any information until the DNA results came back.

“Jacob was officially named a suspect,” she said. “I’m contacting everybody I can to get his face up everywhere.”