Suspected killer of Hollywood transgender in custody

HOLLYWOOD — A 25-year-old man who was profiled on "America's Most Wanted" was charged with murder in the stabbing death of a transgender person in east Hollywood, police announced.

Paulina Ibarra, 27, was found fatally stabbed on the floor of her apartment at 939 N. Mariposa Ave. about 8 p.m. Aug. 28, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

The murder was investigated as a hate crime, LAPD Officer Sara Faden said earlier, although authorities have given no motive for the slaying.

During the investigation, Jesus Catalan -- also known as Brian Nanes or Luis Santiago -- was described as a person of interest, and today police announced his arrest.

On the night of the killing, Catalan went to friends in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and told them he'd been mugged, Lt. Wesley Buhrmester of the LAPD Rampart station said at an afternoon news conference.

The friends helped him change his bloody clothes, and he left, Buhrmester said.

Hours later, the friends learned of Ibarra's murder and realized they may have helped the suspect escape, he said.

When the City Council issued a $50,000 reward for information in the case in February, Councilman Eric Garcetti said Catalan was a suspect because investigators found his DNA at the crime scene.

"Based upon this determination, other physical evidence and witness statements, an arrest warrant alleging a single count of murder was obtained for Mr. Catalan,'' he said.

The case was also profiled on an episode of "America's Most Wanted.''

Catalan, who is from Puerto Rico, was arrested Saturday in Mexico after a fight in a Tijuana hotel, police said.

Mexican police took him the San Ysidro border station, where U.S. authorities fingerprinted him and determined he was wanted on an outstanding murder warrant that had been issued Nov. 19, according to the "America's Most Wanted'' website.

He was arraigned Tuesday on one count of murder with an allegation that he used a knife, said Sandi Gibbons of the District Attorney's Office.

A preliminary hearing to determine if there is enough evidence for him to go to trial was set for July 19 at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse, she said.