Police name woman killed in Central Tucson apartment

Tucson Police released the name of a woman found slain in an apartment over the weekend, saying she is suspected to have been killed by a man she may have helped raise.

That man later drove to California and killed himself, police said.

Angela M. Smith, 51, was found stabbed to death Sunday in the apartment of Richard P. Rodriguez, 29, a long time friend or associate who lived in the 2500 block of North Los Altos Avenue, near North First Avenue and East Grant Road, said Sgt. Carlos Valdez, a Tucson police spokesman.

Smith may have helped raise Rodriguez, Valdez said, adding detectives are working with family member to try to develop a history of the two people.

Rodriguez was found dead in Blythe, Calif. about 8 a.m. Sunday, said Jeff Wade, a detective sergeant with the Blythe Police Department.

Valdez said detectives here think Rodriguez killed Smith and left for Blythe roughly 12 hours before Smith's body was found.

Their names were withheld until Monday so family members could be found and told of the deaths.

Smith originally was from Virginia, but had been living here for a short time before she was killed, Valdez said. Rodriguez also had been living here for a short time, Valdez added.

Rodriguez rented a motel room Saturday evening in Blythe and made calls to family members, Wade said.

Rodriguez gave no reason for his suicide and left no note, police here and in California said.

Wade said Rodriguez died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

His body was found behind the steering wheel of his late model Chevrolet Cavalier, parked in the driveway of the Palo Verde Irrigation District office in an industrial area in Blythe, Wade said.

Wade said he suspects Rodriguez shot himself some time around 2 a.m. Sunday based on a trace of calls made from Rodriguez' cellular phone and on the times they were made.

Before killing himself, Wade said, Rodriguez called family members in Washington state.

"He talked to family members Saturday evening by telephone, he just said ‘send the police to the apartment there in Tucson,' basically, ‘I'm sorry,'" Wade said.

"He made some reference to a body in the apartment there in Tucson," Wade said, explaining he did not know if Rodriguez said he had killed a woman there.