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Crime

Parolee charged in murder of Desert Hot Springs woman

Joseph Cantu Montanez

A murder charge was filed today against a parolee accused of bludgeoning a woman to death with a hammer in Desert Hot Springs.

Joseph Cantu Montanez, 41, was arrested Monday on suspicion of killing 39-year-old Andrea Reyes, who was found dead at her home two days after Christmas, according to the Desert Hot Springs Police Department.

Along with the murder count, Montanez is charged with attempted murder involving a victim identified in court papers only as "Corina C" and faces a sentence-enhancing allegation of using a weapon -- a hammer -- during the commission of a murder.

According to the criminal complaint, the attempted murder occurred on the same day Reyes was killed, but no details have been released about that crime.

The Desert Hot Springs resident remains behind bars at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta without bail. He is slated to make his initial court appearance Friday via video conference before a judge at the Banning Justice Center.

Officers were sent a house located in the 15600 block of Palm Drive to conduct a welfare check on Dec. 27 and discovered Reyes dead inside about 2:30 p.m. Officers then "obtained information'' that pinpointed Montanez as a suspect and arrested him Monday night, police said, but did not elaborate.

Montanez had an active warrant out for his arrest for an alleged parole violation from October, court records show. He has felony convictions in Riverside County including robbery, false imprisonment and vehicle theft.

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KESQ News Team

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