Husband accused of attempted murder in woman's choking

Prosecutors say victim may die

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: June 27, 2011, 5:07 PM

 

A Vancouver man made his first court appearance Monday on suspicion of attempted murder for allegedly nearly choking his wife to death.

Gabriel Lomeli Orozco, 40, is being held in the Clark County Jail on allegations of second-degree attempted murder in the Sunday morning incident.

Deputy Prosecutor Mike Dodds told the judge that the victim, Maria Lomeli, 33, is being kept alive on life support and could possibly die.

“It is possible that this will become first-degree murder,” Dodds told Clark County Superior Court Judge Robert Lewis.

The judge set bail at $500,000 for Lomeli Orozco and appointed attorney Suzan Clark to represent him.

The case surfaced at 8:20 a.m. Sunday, when Vancouver police officers were called to the couple’s home in the 2900 block of Caples Avenue. One of the couple’s children called 911 to report his mother was unconscious and his father had fled the home, according to court documents.

The couple’s son told investigators that his parents had an argument the previous night and were sleeping in separate bedrooms. The next morning, the son saw his father step into his mother’s bedroom briefly and then leave the home in a rush, according to court documents. The son told officers that he heard struggling noises coming from the bedroom.

The son rushed into the bedroom and found Maria Lomeli unconscious with red marks and abrasions on her throat, indicating she had been nearly strangled, according to court documents. She was rushed to Southwest Washington Medical Center and was listed in critical condition.

She was not listed as a patient on the hospital’s public directory, so her condition Monday wasn’t available.

Meanwhile on Sunday morning, the couple’s son was able to reach his father by telephone. Lomeli Orozco told him he was so distraught over the incident that Lomeli Orozco had ingested rat poison, according to court documents.

Lomeli Orozco reportedly told his son that he wanted to turn himself in to police. Police said he agreed to surrender to Vancouver police officers about two hours later in a strip mall parking lot at 5000 E. Fourth Plain Blvd.

Police said he showed symptoms of ingesting rat poison and was transported to the hospital for observation; he was later booked in to the jail.

Lomeli Orozco will be arraigned on charges Friday.

Laura McVicker: 360-735-4516; Twitter: Col_Courts; laura.mcvicker@columbian.com.