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Diary key evidence against man charged in 1997 murder near Downers Grove

Jose Ruvalcaba-Quezada, charged in DuPage County with a 1997 murder

Diary entries describing a 1997 murder in DuPage County tie a former Joliet man arrested in December to the long-unsolved slaying, prosecutors said Friday.

Juan Alfredo Ruvalcaba-Quezada detailed the killing in his diary, noting the caliber of the pistol used and recounting how Jose Ortiz, 39, carried a lunchbox when he was gunned down, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors disclosed the new details Friday as Ruvalcaba-Quezada, 32, was ordered held without bail after being returned from South Carolina to face murder charges.

Ortiz, 39, was shot to death outside his Downers Grove-area home as he headed to work early on Dec. 29, 1997.

Ruvalcaba-Quezada described in the journal how he used a 9mm pistol to kill Ortiz, who was carrying his lunch to work when he stepped out of his home and was shot to death, prosecutors said.

“He had his lunchbox in his hand, but he never made it,” said a diary entry read in court by prosecutor Steven Knight.

Investigators also found 9mm shell casings at the murder scene, Knight said.

The diary was found in 1999 at the Utah home where Ruvalcaba-Quezada was then living. It wasn’t linked to Ortiz’s murder until 2008, when witnesses implicated Ruvalcaba-Quezada in the killing, Knight said.

By that time, he was living in South Carolina under an alias, Knight said.

He was arrested after his fingerprints were checked after a drunken-driving arrest in South Carolina, Knight said.

Ruvalcaba-Quezada also admitted to carrying out the murder in statements he gave to police after his arrest, Knight said.

Prosecutors didn’t disclose why Ortiz, who was married and had five children, was targeted.

But in the diary, Ruvalcaba-Quezada cryptically noted he was “asked to do a job” by another man.

“He said I had to kill this dude and there was good pay,” according to the diary entry.