Valencia-Gaona Facing Murder Charges

A memorial for 38-year-old Maria Rodriguez sits outside her neighbor’s home.

The same place police say a man chased her down with a butcher knife and stabbed her to death.

Neighbors wouldn’t talk to us on camera because they’re afraid of retaliationbut say they are relieved the suspect, Jose Valencia-Gaona is in custody tonight.

“It’s about effort, it’s about people working and continuing to work,” say Medford Police Chief Tim George.

After three days of tirelessly searching a west Medford neighborhood, Medford police got an anonymous tip Wednesday morningsaying Valencia-Gaona was north of Clark Street on the railroad tracks.

And that’s where the 45 year is taken into custody.

Only NBC five is there as police escort him into the police station for booking.

Booked on a first degree murder charge.

“We’re 72 hours out and we have a suspect in custody, i’d say that’s pretty good effort, it’s all about effort.”

An effort of more than 30 police officers and sheriff’s deputiesand that person who paid attention and reported what he saw.

“We can have the coolest equipment, the best training, but if people don’t talk to us nothing happens. we’re fortunate to live in a community where people talk to us and that’s what happened today.”

Valencia-Gaona is also charged with being in the country illegally.

Police say if convicted, he’ll likely serve time in the U.S. and eventually be deported back to Mexico.

Medford Police also say that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE will be working with the Jackson County Sheriff’s department to determine how Valencia-Gaona will serve time.

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