After nearly 20 days on the lam, a woman has been arrested in connection with the killing of her wife, who was found dead in a San Carlos apartment earlier this month.
Tiffany Nowden-Vale, 39, was booked into the Las Colinas Detention Facility Tuesday night on a first-degree murder charge, San Diego police confirmed.
U.S. Marshals found Nowden-Vale at a home on Market Street after searching for her for the past three weeks – since her wife was found dead. Police have considered Nowden-Vale a person of interest-turned-suspect in the case.
On June 5, at around 6 p.m., Nowden-Vale’s wife, Russina Vale, 38, was found dead inside an apartment unit at the Villa De Flores complex in the 7700 block of Mission Gorge Road.
Investigators said Vale had suffered stab wounds to her upper body and was not able to survive her injuries.
Following the grim discovery, police immediately began looking for Nowden-Vale so they could question her in connection with Russina’s death. However, she was nowhere to be found and remained at large until her arrest Tuesday.
Neighbors said Nowden called Vale her wife. Nowden's Facebook page even notes she had gotten married in December. Some neighbors told NBC 7 that two women lived together in the San Carlos apartment, but had recently been fighting and had broken up.
However, other neighbors said the women were quiet and mostly kept to themselves. They were often seen walking their dogs.
Nowden-Vale was arraigned Wednesday.
Prosecutor Lindsey Carinci said Russina was found naked and dead in her bed on the day of her murder. She had suffered two stab wounds, one to the stomach and the other to the upper right arm and chest, which proved fatal.
Carinci said police searched for Nowden-Vale following the killing, but she, along with some of her personal belongings from the San Carlos apartment, were gone. She had also removed the battery from her cell phone, according to investigators, so she couldn't be traced.
Carinci argued that Nowden-Vale is considered a flight risk, and ask a judge to set bail at $2 million.
The case remains under investigation.
Carinci said the pair had gotten into a heated argument at Nowden-Vale's place of employment, Barona Casino, shortly before the deadly stabbing. Nowden-Vale was escorted off the property.
After that, the prosecutor said Russina had sent emails to friends and family saying her relationship with Nowden-Vale was over and that she planned to seek a divorce. Carinci said the relationship woes shed light into the possible motive for the murder.
If convicted, Nowden-Vale faces 56 years to life in prison.
Nowden-Vale is due back in court on July 3.