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Christopher Ortega Warrants Released

New warrants released in the homicide of an Asheville artist are raising more questions to the yet-unsolved mystery surrounding his death.

Asheville police believe that Ortega was likely killed sometime during the weekend of October 26-27th. In the warrants released this week, police say his roommate, James McGivney, told them he discovered Ortega around noon on October 28th, shortly after he awoke. McGivney told police he had last seen Ortega on October 24th, "prior to McGivney leaving the apartment and going to spend the weekend with his girlfriend." McGivney told police when he got back to the apartment late on the night of October 27th, he found that "Ortega's bedroom door was shut so he presumed Ortega to be asleep".

The warrants also reveal that Ortega was found under a desk in his bedroom, partially-clothed with a knot on his forehead and abrasions on his knees and elbow. A medical examiner determined Ortega's cause of death to be asphyxiation.

"What's to say that something this violent can't happen to somebody else?" asked Barbie Angell, a friend of Ortega's. "The type of death he had was incredibly violent, the kind you only see in tv and movies," she said.

Police recovered photographs, fingerprints, blood, laptop, computer, hard drives, camera, some paperwork and other incidentals at the scene. They also searched Ortega's Facebook account and his phone records twice--from two different periods--to try to get more information about with whom he was communicating.

"It breaks my heart this happened," said Lauren Patton, owner of the ZaPow Art Gallery in downtown Asheville, which featured several of Ortega's acrylic paintings. "I know detectives are working on it, and I don't blame them, I know they're working hard. I just wish they could find whoever did this. He's too sweet of a guy to have lost. It's a loss to our community, and I really hope it comes to some sort of resolution."


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