Murder Charge Filed In Death Of Woman Found In Poway Motel

Authorities: Christine Stewart's Body Discovered In Large Rolling Suitcase At Poway Best Western

Murder charges were filed and an arrest warrant issued in Riverside County Friday for an ex-convict accused of killing a drug counselor he was dating and leaving her body stuffed in a suitcase at a Poway motel.

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Joseph David Dorsey, 27, remains at large, his whereabouts unknown two days after authorities discovered the body of his girlfriend, 47-year-old Christine Stewart.

Dorsey was charged Friday with murder, and a Riverside County Superior Court judge signed a warrant for the parolee's arrest.

Earlier, sheriff's officials named Dorsey as a suspect in Stewart's disappearance. The Canyon Lake woman, who worked as a behavioral health specialist at a drug rehab center in Hemet, had been dating Dorsey for an unspecified period of time, according to the Riverside County District Attorney's Office.

The 5-foot-2, 100-pound woman's remains were located in a suitcase left in a room at the Best Western on Poway Road, authorities said.

Dorsey was last seen driving a dark blue 2003 Ford Explorer with a gray hood and fender. The vehicle's California license plate is 6-U-D-Y-7-7-3.

According to the D.A.'s office, Dorsey has a prior felony strike. Court records show that he was convicted in 2006 of assault and battery on a peace officer, for which he was sentenced to 3 years in prison.

Dorsey was also convicted in June of attempted burglary. According to court transcripts, the defendant originally was charged with burglary and grand theft in that case. But under a plea agreement with the D.A.'s office, the two felony charges were dropped and replaced with the lesser count, resulting in a one-year prison sentence.

With credit for time served in the county jail and additional state credit to minimize prison overcrowding, Dorsey was allowed to go free.

Anyone with information on Dorsey's whereabouts was urged to contact the Riverside County sheriff's Central Homicide Unit at (951) 955-2777.

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