UPDATE: Cold Case Homicide Arrest of Most Wanted Suspect

Bethlehem, PA

Monday, February 25, 2013.

Francisco G. Miranda

Francisco G. Miranda – Taken 2/23/2013

Francisco G. Miranda - Photo Taken 1992

Francisco G. Miranda – Photo Taken 1992

 

On June 12, 1994, at approximately 4:56 AM, a criminal homicide occurred in the 600 block of Aaron Street, in the City of Bethlehem, Northampton County, Pennsylvania. A male, identified as Jorge Velazquez, age 30, was stabbed and later passed away at St. Luke’s Hospital in Fountain Hill, Lehigh County. Jorge Velazquez’s cause of death was ruled to be a stab wound to the chest and the manner of death was ruled to be Homicide by then Lehigh County Coroner Wayne Snyder (Ret.) and the Deputy Coroner Scott Grim.

An investigation was conducted by Bethlehem Police Detectives at this time and a suspect was identified. That suspect was identified as FRANCISCO MIRANDA, age 30, LKA: 738 E. Fourth Street, Bethlehem, Pa.18015. As a result of that investigation, on June 12, 1994, a criminal warrant was issued for FRANCISCO MIRANDA charging him with Criminal Homicide and Aggravated Assault.

FRANCISCO MIRANDA disappeared at this time. A search was conducted by the Bethlehem Police Department and he was not located in the Lehigh Valley. Information was received that MIRANDA had fled the Lehigh Valley and the State to avoid arrest on these charges. The Pennsylvania State Police became involved and listed MIRANDA as one of Pennsylvania’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives. MIRANDA remained on of the Ten Most Wanted until this arrest.

The FBI became involved in the search for FRANCISCO MIRANDA since MIRANDA fled the state, and on July 24, 1994, a federal warrant was issued on MIRANDA charging him with Interstate Flight to Avoid Prosecution. The warrants were entered nationwide.  FRANCISCO MIRANDA was not located. In the next year or so, information was received that MIRANDA had fled the United States and was now in Puerto Rico and/or Dominican Republic.

The case lay inactive for several years with no and/or very little additional information being received or developed. In the summer of 2000, the investigation was re-opened as a cold case by Detective Lt. Mark DiLuzio. With assistance from the Northampton County District Attorney’s Office Extradition section, and the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force (PSP Trooper/Deputy Marshal Tim Flickinger), the investigation centered on the country of the Dominican Republic as the possible current location for FRANCISCO MIRANDA.

In spring of 2008, information was developed that MIRANDA was spotted and was living in a city in southeastern Dominican Republic. With assistance from U.S. Marshals stationed in the Dominican Republic and Police in the Dominican Republic, on November 27, 2012, FRANCISCO MIRANDA was taken into custody at his mother’s house in the City of La Romana, Dominican Republic.

FRANCISCO MIRANDA was detained in a Dominican Prison in the Dominican Republic pending extradition back to the United States. On Friday, February 22, 2013, U.S. Marshals transported FRANCISCO MIRANDA back to the United States where he was placed under arrest by Bethlehem Police on a charge of Criminal Homicide and Aggravated Assault. MIRANDA is currently incarcerated in Northampton County Prison facing prosecution by the Northampton County District Attorney’s Office.

This arrest was accomplished, as a direct result, of joint and cooperative communication and investigation between local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

This investigation is still ongoing. Anyone with information concerning this homicide is asked to contact Detective Lt. Mark DiLuzio at 610-997-7672 or the Northampton County District Attorney’s Office at 610-559-3020.

Pennsylvania State Police Most Wanted showing Francisco G. MIRANDA

Pennsylvania State Police Most Wanted showing Francisco G. MIRANDA

 

The crime occurred to the rear of this Aaron Street apartment building that is no longer standing.

The crime occurred to the rear of this Aaron Street apartment building that is no longer standing.

Rear of the Aaron Street apartment building showing part of parking lot where the crime occurred.

Rear of the Aaron Street apartment building showing part of parking lot where the crime occurred.

 

 

 

 

 

Armed Men Shoot and Injure Irene Street Resident

Bethlehem, PA

BC-13-07897

The Bethlehem Police Department is investigating an incident that occurred at 1581 Irene Street in the early morning hours of Sunday February 24th.  Two males entered the residence, both armed with handguns.  During this confrontation, a male resident, approximately 30 years of age, suffered gunshots to both of his legs.  The injuries do not appear to be life threatening.  The victim was taken to St. Luke’s University Hospital for treatment.  A female resident was not injured in the incident.

As of this time, no arrests have been made.  Anyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective J. Fulmer at 610.865.7187.

Arrest Warrant Issued for the Chief of Police

Bethlehem, PA

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Bethlehem Chief of Police Jason Schiffer.  In a statement released earlier, Chief Schiffer stated, “I’m going behind bars for good…that’s right I’m in jail…and I need your help.”

MDA Wanted Poster 2-1

Chief Schiffer has been locked up and needs your help to raise money for bail.  While it’s not real jail, it’s even more important as I’m raising bail to help children and adults with muscle disease in my community who are supported by the vital work of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).  I might not be able to rely on good behavior to get out so that’s why I need your help – I need you to donate to my bail!  All you have to do is click here to make a secure, online donation today. Your support will help families living in our community with muscle disease, and help guarantee that I get out of jail.  I know that together we’ll Make Muscle and Make a Difference in the fight against muscle disease.

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Former Mayor Gordon Mowrer Honored with Downtown Monument

Bethlehem, PA

Mayor Gordon Mowrer Plaque being unveiled by current Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan

Mayor Gordon Mowrer Plaque being unveiled by current Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan

At 1:30 on February 19th, Mayor John Callahan and other prominent members of the the Lehigh Valley gathered at the intersection of Main & Market Streets to honor a man who has given much to our fair city.  Mayor Gordon B. Mowrer was mayor of Bethlehem from 1974-1978 and again in 1987.  He also served for years on Bethlehem’s City Council.  He is credited with the initiative and foresight to preserve Bethlehem’s beautiful downtown buildings. 

The plaque reads: “As Mayor in the 1970s his vision saved Bethlehem’s historic downtown from the wrecking ball of “urban renewal” and refocused the City on the viability and vibrancy of its heritage.

Mayor Mowrer Plaque2

The safety of any city is directly tied to the economic vitality of that community.  Decisions that were made twenty, thirty and even forty years ago are paying dividends in our community today.  Great leaders like Mayor Gordon Mowrer have paved the way to help make Bethlehem a great place to live, work and play.  Thank you.

Valentines Delivered to Police from Cops ‘n’ Kids

Bethlehem, PA

Valentines being delivered to Police Officer Cordt Fenstermaker

Valentines being delivered by Gina to Police Officer Cordt Fenstermaker

 

IMG_1317

The Cops ‘n’ Kids Literacy Program delivered a box of valentines to the Bethlehem Police Department on February 14th.  This heart-warming gesture was so nice and so appreciated, we just had to share this act of kindness with everyone.  “Thank You!” from all of the members of the Bethlehem Police Department to all of the great young people at the Cops ‘n’ Kids Reading Room.

The Cops ‘n’ Kids Literacy Program has a mission of “Connecting Kids and Community Through Literacy”.  The Reading Room is located in room 403 of the Northampton Community College Fowler Family Southside Center at 511 East Third Street, Bethlehem, PA.  The program is run by the wonderful President Beverly Bradley and the Reading Room Coordinator Christine Sexton.  They are always looking for book donations or volunteers to help in their great effort.  Check out their website at www.copsnkidslv.org or call at 610.861.5526 to see how you can help this worthwhile prgram.

Now, take a moment to look at these precious valentines from the kids:

UPDATE: ARREST After Two Stabbed at Party in South Bethlehem

Bethlehem, PA

BC-13-05805

At 10:48 PM on 09 February 2013, police were called to 502 Ontario Street, Apartment #5, Bethlehem, PA, Northampton County on report of a stabbing.  On arrival, police found two people, a male and a female, with stab wounds.  Both victims appeared to have been stabbed multiple times.

Both victims were transported by ambulance to St. Luke’s University Hospital in Fountain Hill, PA.  Although the male was transported to the hospital as a trauma alert, reports indicate that the injuries to either victim do not appear to be life threatening.

Initial reports indicate the stabbings occurred after an altercation at a party being held at the Ontario Street apartment.  The suspect is a male who was present at the party.  No one is in custody at this time. Bethlehem Police Detectives are actively working on this investigation and ask anyone with information about this incident to call Bethlehem Police at 610.865.7187.

Update 2/12/13: Bethlehem Police have arrested Tony-Ray Arvelo, DOB 12/30/1988 of 618 Chew Street, Apt. 3, Allentown, PA. Arvelo is charged with Attempted Homicide, Aggravated Assault, Recklessly Endangering Another Person and Possession of Instruments of a Crime. He was committed to Northampton County Prison under $300,000 bail.

Kenneth Ortega Arrested in Florida on Attempted Homicide Warrant

Bethlehem, PA
Updated 2/7/23 @ 2030 Hrs

ORTEGA, Kenneth

As reported earlier, at 3:00 p.m. on 31 January 2013, our 9-1-1 Command Center received a report of shots fired in the 1100 block of Fritz Drive, Bethlehem, PA, Northampton County. Officers from our Bethlehem Housing Authority (BHA) Unit, Patrol Operations Division,  and Criminal Investigations Division quickly responded to investigate.

At approximately 3:15 p.m. it was reported by St. Luke’s University Hospital that a male had arrived in their Emergency Room with what appeared to be a gun shot wound.

During the course of this diligent investigation officers developed a suspect who was responsible for this violent act. Kenneth ORTEGA, 22 years of age of Bethlehem, was identified and intelligence gathered indicates that he fled Bethlehem and was hiding in Florida. With the cooperation of Florida law enforcement authorities, Ortega was taken into custody on Thursday 07 February 2013 by the Polk County (FL) Sheriff’s Department.

Kenneth Ortega, aka K.O, is currently being lodged in the Polk County Jail as a fugitive pending extradition back to Northampton County, PA where he will answer for charges stemming from the 1/31 shooting.

Ortega is charged with:

  • 2 counts- Attempted Homicide
  • 4 counts- Aggravated Assault
  • 1 count- Persons Not to Possess Firearms
  • 1 count- Possessing Instruments of Crime

We would like to thank everyone who shared this information and assisted us in this apprehension.  We are especially thankful for the cooperation and assistance from the Polk County Sheriff’s Department and several other Florida law enforcement agencies who helped.

We expect to charge other individuals in connection with this offense and another person with harboring Ortega.  More details will be released as they are available.

 

UPDATE: 2/8/13: Article in Florida newspaper The Ledger

NC DA’s Office Announces Arrest: Possible ‘Serial Rapist’

Bethlehem, PA

2/6/13

As reported by local media, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli is asking anyone who has been contacted on Facebook by the arrested man (David MARTINEZ) to call the District Attorney’s office at 610-559-3020 or Bethlehem Police Detective Moses Miller at 610-997-7674.

David MARTINEZ

David MARTINEZ

Morning Call article with video from Northampton County DA Press Conference

 

Two Vehicle Crash on Central Blvd

Bethlehem, PA

2/6/13

On 2/6/13 at approximately 8:30 a.m. our Department received a report of a motor vehicle accident in the 700 block of Central Blvd.

Police, fire and EMS personnel responded to the scene. It was discovered that a female driver of one vehicle, and the female driver and her young child in the other vehicle were seriously injured.

After rendering first aid, all involved occupants were transported to St. Luke’s Hospital for additional treatment.

As of this writing all were listed in critical condition, and the young child was flown to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

The City of Bethlehem Police Department is continuing its investigation of this accident. We ask that anyone who might have information about this event contact Officer Jonathan Desiderio at 610.865.7187.

NO FURTHER INFORMATION WIL BE RELEASED AT THIS TIME.

UPDATE: Warrant Obtained for Man Involved in Marvine-Pembroke Shooting Incident

Bethlehem, PA

UPDATE 2/7/13: Kenneth Ortega arrested in Polk County, Florida.

2/1/13

As released yesterday, at approximately 3:00 p.m. on 1/31/13 our 9-1-1 Command Center received a report of shots fired in the 1100 block of Fritz Drive. Officers from our BHA Unit, Patrol Operations Division, and Criminal Investigations Division quickly responded to investigate.

At approximately 3:15 p.m. it was reported by St. Luke’s Hospital that a male had arrived there with what appeared to be a gun shot wound. It was learned that the victim was shot in the leg.

During the course of this diligent investigation officers developed a suspect who is believed to be the shooter. A warrant for the arrest of Kenneth ORTEGA, 22 years of age of Bethlehem, was obtained from on-call Magisterial District Judge Nancy Matos-Gonzalez.

ORTEGA, Kenneth

ORTEGA, Kenneth

The warrant for ORTEGA’s arrest includes the following charges:

2 counts- Attempted Homicide

4 counts-  Aggravated Assault

1 count-  Persons Not to Possess Firearms

1 count-  Possessing  Instruments of Crime

If anyone sees ORTEGA or knows of his whereabouts, please call 9-1-1 immediately. If anyone has information concerning this incident, please call Detective Bradford JONES at 610.865.7146 or 610.865.7187.