Prosecutors say the extradition process remains under way for a man suspected in the 2005 freeway murder of a Southern Oregon woman.

Prosecutors say the extradition process remains under way for a man suspected in the 2005 freeway murder of a Southern Oregon woman.

Jose Perez Silva, 33, suspected of stabbing and mortally wounding Ana Bertha Meraz, 32, on Interstate 5 near Ashland, was arrested in Mexico on May 29 by the Mexican Federal Department of Investigation near Puerto Vallarta. Silva's extradition papers are currently winding their way through the Department of Justice Office of International Affairs in Washington, D.C., said Jackson County District Attorney Mark Huddleston.

"The extradition papers are being checked for their legality," Huddleston said. "Then they will be translated into Spanish and sent to the Mexican authorities."

Huddleston has hailed the effort that resulted in Perez Silva's arrest as an "international cooperative effort," noting that local police, U.S. government agencies and Mexican agencies all were involved over several years.

Meraz called 9-1-1 about 6 a.m. May 3, 2005, requesting urgent medical attention before an unidentified man took the phone and said he had stopped to assist Meraz after seeing her vehicle weaving in traffic.

OSP troopers and medics located Meraz lying beside her idling Chrysler Sebring convertible on the freeway's southbound shoulder near milepost 11. She died of her wounds after being transported to a local hospital, Huddleston said.

Investigators later recovered Perez Silva's green 1985 Nissan Pathfinder in Central California. Police believe he fled to Mexico within a week of Meraz's murder.

Meraz and Perez Silva were acquainted through a local church, said Jackson County sheriff's Sgt. Colin Fagan.

The Jackson County District Attorney's Office indicted Perez Silva in November 2005, and a warrant has been out for his arrest, according to Jackson County Circuit Court records.

It is unclear exactly when Perez Silva will be returned to Jackson County, said Huddleston, adding it will depend on whether Silva wants to fight the extradition process.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 776-4497 or e-mail sspecht@mailtribune.com.