Earlimart man arrested in Oregon murder, arson case


An Earlimart man was arrested Friday on charges of murder and arson. The crimes took place two months ago in Oregon.

A fire broke out at a hotel in Newport, Oregon on Aug. 6.

A man who was in a hotel room was critically burned and ended up dying from his injuries, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.

The fire was determined to be arson.

Jonathon Leo Mendez Gonzalez was identified as a person of interest, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Detectives in Newport reached out to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office and requested help.

Over the past two months, detectives with the Sheriff’s Office helped Oregon detectives with the homicide investigation.

During the investigation, Violent Crimes detectives located Mendez in Earlimart, and he was interviewed by Oregon detectives regarding the fire.

On Oct. 4, Oregon detectives obtained a $2 million arrest warrant for Gonzalez and contacted the Sheriff’s Office for additional assistance on the investigation.

On Friday, detectives with the Sheriff’s Office Violent Crimes Unit and CATTCH Fugitive Apprehension Team found Gonzalez at a home in Earlimart and took him into custody on the warrant.

Gonzalez was transported and booked at the Adult Pre-Trial Facility and is currently awaiting extradition to Oregon.

Anyone with information should call Detective Kyle Kalender the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office at 559-733-6211. Anonymous information can be reported via Tipnow at tcso@tipnow.net, or 559-725-4194.

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