Police: Transient raped, strangled NW woman - The Explorer: Pima Pinal

Police: Transient raped, strangled NW woman

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Posted: Monday, June 23, 2008 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:03 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

Investigators don’t know where Dorothy Carras’ killer is, but on Tuesday, June 24, they did identify the man they believe raped and killed the 81-year-old a month earlier.

DNA evidence collected from Carras’ home on the 1600 block of West Chimayo Place on May 22 has led Pima County Sheriff’s detectives to charge John Vincent Nitzke, a 48-year-old transient, with the crime that stunned many in the Northwest.

Investigators have yet to find Nitzke, whom they describe as a white male, about 6 feet tall and 170 pounds, with brown hair and eyes. He may live in the greater Tucson area.

Early Friday morning, May 23, a friend found the body of Dorothy “Betty” Carras in her home, near the intersection of North La Cañada Drive and West Magee Road. Carras’ corpse displayed “obvious signs of trauma,” according to Pima County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Dawn Hanke. An autopsy later revealed the elderly woman died of strangulation.

Investigators believed Carras was killed sometime the night before. “She had been seen by friends late in the afternoon the day before,” Hanke said at the time.

Carras lived alone in the Northwest neighborhood. She volunteered as a docent at Tohono Chul Park, only a couple of miles away.

Investigators still have not released any information about how Carras’ killer entered her home or what the motive for her murder may have been.

Anyone with information about the case or knowledge of Nitzke’s whereabouts is asked to call 911 or 88-CRIME.

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