Suspect in 2005 murder near Ashland due for arraignment today

The man suspected of stabbing a Medford woman along Interstate 5 near Ashland in May 2005 is back in Jackson County to face a murder charge after spending years on the run in Mexico.

Investigators quickly identified Jose Perez-Silva, 33, as the prime suspect in the death of Ana Bertha Meraz, 32. They tracked him to Monterey County, Calif., where they recovered his green 1985 Nissan Pathfinder within a week of her death, but he slipped into Mexico.

A Jackson County grand jury indicted him on a murder charge in November 2005 and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Through a cooperative effort involving authorities on both sides of the border, the Mexican Federal Department of Investigation arrested Perez-Silva near Puerto Vallarta in late May of this year.

Jackson County District Attorney Mark Huddleston announced this morning that Perez-Silva had been brought back to Oregon to face charges. Perez-Silva was flown to Portland from Mexico by U.S. marshals. Multnomah County authorities transported him to Marion County, where Jackson County sheriff's deputies met them and picked him up, then brought him back here.

He was lodged in the Jackson County Jail without bail and was set to be arraigned in Jackson County Circuit Court on a murder charge at 1:30 this afternoon.

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