A pregnant Manassas woman was stabbed to death Monday afternoon in the doorway of the store where she worked at the Grant Avenue Shopping Center.
Rosa Isabel Umana, of 8561 Yoder Street, died in the doorway of Rosita Shop, a clothing and consignment shop in the plaza’s southwest corner.
She was stabbed several times by a man who fled after the killing to the city’s Georgetown South area, said Sgt. Tim Neumann, Manassas police spokesman.
Jorge Vazquez-Hernandez, 21, of no fixed address, is charged with murder and is being held without bond at the Prince William-Manassas regional jail. He is due in court for a preliminary hearing Dec. 13.
Manassas police Detective Edwin Rivera was walking through the plaza on his way to dinner in a nearby restaurant at 3:10 p.m. when he heard screams from Umana, who was about 30 years old, according to her employers.
He saw a man run from the door of Rosita Shop and saw Umana in the doorway, bleeding from her face and torso, according to police.
He ran back to his unmarked cruiser and radioed for an ambulance. He also broadcast a quick description of the assailant and told police he would chase him.
While other officers responded to the area, Rivera drove after the man and got out to chase him on foot.
He lost sight of the man momentarily and then a witness in Georgetown South directed Rivera and other officers to a home in Taney Road where the man was seen in the backyard, police said.
Rivera and patrol officers entered the town house and arrested Vazquez-Hernandez, Neumann said.
Police are unsure about the motive for the killing and are still investigating, Neumann said.
They are also unsure whether the Vazquez-Hernandez and Umana knew each other, or whether Vazquez-Hernandez had frequented the store in the past.
Vazquez-Hernandez could be charged with capital murder depending on his intent, said Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul B. Ebert.
Officers recovered evidence at the scene, but would not say if it was the knife used to stab Umana.
Rosita Shop owners Jose Marqoina, 46, and Flor Marqoina, 36, said Umana was a good worker who staffed the cash register and often cleaned around the store.
The Salvadoran immigrant had been in the United States for about 17 months and had spent the entire time working in Rosita Shop, they said.
“She was a good worker,” Flor Marqoina said.
She was taking English classes in her spare time, according to her cousin, 34-year-old Maria Compos.
Umana’s goal was to read and write English so she could advance in her career.
She was thrilled about her baby, but had no preference about its sex.
“She didn’t know what was going to have,” Compos said. “Now we know it was a little girl.”
Umana’s boyfriend, 25-year-old Adres Orellana, said through Compos that he will never again find anyone as wonderful as Umana.
“She was a very, very nice, hard working woman,” Orellana said.
Their relationship was wonderful, he said.
The Marqoinas were unsure if Vazquez-Hernandez had ever been in their store before. Neither of them have ever seen him, they said.
Nick Roman, the 35-year-old owner of a nearby business, said one of his employees told him that the killer had tried to steal clothes and was chased by Umana. He turned and stabbed her in the neck, according to his employee’s account.
The Marqoinas said there was blood all over the front of their store. Umana was about four months pregnant, they said.
“It’s two lives,” Flor said.
This is the second homicide in Manassas in a month.
A 26-year-old man was shot on Garst Drive during a robbery gone bad early Sept. 12.
Police have arrested two suspects in that case.
Staff writer Daniel Drew can be reached at (703) 878-8065.