Joseph David Dorsey, 28, of Lake Elsinore is scheduled for arraignment Friday on charges that he killed a Canyon Lake woman then stuffed her 5’2” body in a suitcase and left it at a Best Western motel room.
In addition to a charge of murder, there are also allegations against Dorsey of a strike prior and two prison priors.
Arrest records in the case show Stewart was not answering her cell phone and she did not show up for work. According to police, Stewart worked as a behavioral health specialist at a drug rehabilitation facility in Hemet.
Investigators from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department’s Perris station interviewed several family members, but it was a cousin of Dorsey’s who ultimately led police to Stewart’s body, the arrest records state.
The cousin was able to access Dorsey’s cell phone voicemail and she heard a message from the Poway Best Western stating Dorsey had left behind some property inside one of the motel rooms and that he should come and get it, the records state.
Investigators zoomed in on the motel and the large black suitcase that Dorsey allegedly left behind.
Inside the bag were Stewart’s remains, according to the arrest records.
According to an autopsy report, the cause of death was strangulation: Stewart sustained severe damage to her neck muscles and thyroid gland, and she also suffered “entries” to her head and chest area, the arrest records state.
A clerk at the motel identified Dorsey as the man who checked into the motel room with the large black suitcase in tow; the clerk also saw Dorsey drive away in a dark blue Ford Explorer, according to the arrest records.
Based on their investigation, police suspect Stewart was killed in Lake Elsinore -- Dorsey’s last known address was on Main Street.
The victim’s estimated time- and date-of-death have not been released by authorities.
Dorsey has a criminal past. The complaint against him shows that in 2006 he was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon against a police officer, and in July 2012 he was convicted of burglary.
Dorsey had not been seen for more than two months following the grisly Aug. 8 discovery, despite a warrant for his arrest, but was ultimately nabbed Oct. 23 by Mexican law enforcement officials in Playas de Rosarito in Mexico.
The suspect was extradited to the United States and on Oct 24 was booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside. His arraignment at Southwest Justice Center is scheduled at 1:30 p.m. Friday.