Man arrested in death of woman found in suitcase in Poway motel

Joseph Dorsey arrested in Mexico

POWAY, Calif. - An ex-convict accused of murdering a drug counselor he was dating and leaving her body stuffed in a suitcase in a San Diego County hotel was in custody Wednesday following his arrest in Mexico, a sheriff's sergeant said.

Joseph David Dorsey, 28, of Lake Elsinore was located and arrested around 10 p.m. Tuesday in Rosarito, Mexico, by Mexican authorities assisted by the FBI and the Inland Regional Apprehension Team, said Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Robert Novak.

He was the subject of a manhunt since authorities discovered the body of his girlfriend, 47-year-old Christine Stewart, in a Poway hotel room on August 8. She had been reported missing on Aug. 6, Novak said.

Dorsey was charged on Aug. 10 with murder, and a Riverside County Superior Court judge signed a warrant for the parolee's arrest.

The Canyon Lake woman, who worked as a behavioral health specialist at a drug rehab center in Hemet, had been dating Dorsey, according to the Riverside District Attorney's Office.

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

According to prosecutors, 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 three 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 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.

The district attorney's office is in the process of arranging Dorsey's extradition to the United States, Novak said.

The Inland Regional Apprehension Team is a multi agency task force managed by the FBI that assists local officials with locating and arresting violent crime suspects.

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