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Charges: Man bludgeoned girlfriend to death with dumbbell as she slept

The 47-year-old was found dead on Dec. 2.

A man has been charged with the murder of a woman whose body, showing signs of assault, was found in a burning apartment.

Victor Manuel Marales, 28 – aka Roberto Vasquez, Jr. – has been charged with 2nd-degree murder in the death of 47-year-old Encarncion Gutierrez Quixan, of Ashby.

Quixan was found inside an apartment where there was an "active fire" ongoing Wednesday morning. However, a medical examiner determined she had died from homicide due to a "multiple blunt force head injury."

Police had been alerted to Marales after a report of a suspicious person that morning, with a friend of Marales noting he was "acting very strange."

When questioned by police, Marales said that he had burned down "the apartment building" and "alluded to the possibility that someone was inside the apartment."

The 911 caller told police that Marales had lived with a girlfriend.

When they got to the apartment, in a building at 102 Main Street in Ashby, police opened the door and were "overcome with smoke."

Firefighters found Quixan's body, and it appeared she had been assaulted. 

When interviewed, Marales admitted to bludgeoning Quixan, who he identified as his girlfriend, with an object believed to be a dumbbell as she slept.

He also admitted to starting the fire in the apartment afterwards.

Police later found dumbbells inside Marales' apartment.

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