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Family seeks help amid manhunt for alleged killer of Ramona native, mom of two

Manhunt for alleged killer of Ramona native, mom of 2
Posted at 3:51 PM, Dec 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-12 20:42:45-05

RAMONA, Calif. (KGTV) - Loved ones are seeking help, amid a manhunt for a man accused of killing a Ramona native and mother of two in Oregon.

For Ramona resident, Jen Keller, the grief over the death of her younger sister Kathryn Muhlbach, has been consuming.

“The pain is immense, and we're just in shock,” said Jen Keller.

“It hurts. It’s pain. Our world has changed. Nothing seems the same."

Born and raised in East San Diego County, Muhlbach moved to Portland a few years ago with her boyfriend Jose Caraballo and started a moving and storage company with him.

Keller says when loved ones couldn't reach Muhlbach on Wednesday, they sensed something was wrong. Family members drove up the next day.

“We reported her missing, and Friday, she was found a mile from her home, brutally murdered,” said Keller.

Police say Muhlbach’s body was found in a nature park. A cause of death has yet to be released, but detectives say it is a murder case, pointing to Caraballo as the prime suspect.

Keller calls Muhlbach, a fantastic mom to a 4-year-old and 8-month-old boy, as well as a headstrong woman.

“Sassy, cowgirl, confident, and independent,” said Keller.

But recent developments worried the family.

"We've been hearing he was being abusive towards her, but never could have imagined it would lead to her death,” said Keller.

Keller says detectives have asked her not to reveal some specific details related to the investigation.

Portland police released photos of Caraballo, in announcing an arrest warrant for murder. Caraballo is known to have contacts in the San Diego area.

“We knew he has contacts in Ramona, Chula Vista, Tijuana, and Rosarito. We know he frequents Mexico often,” said Keller.

Keller says Caraballo's truck was abandoned along the I-5, near the Oregon and California border. Keller is now making an appeal to the public, to help track down her sister's suspected killer.

“She was a beautiful person and deserves justice. She’s a young woman who had so much life to live, so much to give to this world, and she was taken from us,” said Keller.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact Portland Police Detective Jennifer Hertzler at or 503-823-1040 or Detective Joe Corona at or 503-823-0508. Please reference case number 22-326621.

Keller says family members are on their way to Portland to pick up the children and bring them back to the San Diego area. A Gofundme campaign has been set up to help the family with funeral and other expenses.