Santa Ana police detectives said Wednesday they wanted to speak with Morales, who had a past relationship with the victim, 21-year-old Maria Isabel Cerrillo of Santa Ana.
Investigators said Cerrillo's body was discovered around 7:40 p.m. Tuesday in an alley in the 200 block of N. Laurel Street, about three and half miles from her home.
Homicide detectives located Morales near 1st and Harbor Thursday. He was interviewed at the Santa Ana Police Department, then booked for Cerrillo's murder. Morales was held on $1 million bond.
Morales's vehicle was located in Garden Grove. He had sold it Wednesday night to a private party, according to police. The vehicle was recovered and impounded by police.
Cerrillo was stabbed multiple times in the upper torso. An autopsy will be performed to confirm her cause of death.
Detectives said they believe Morales lured Cerrillo to the location where she was found. Detectives searched the apartment where Morales lives, which is down the alley where Cerrillo was killed.
It is believed that Morales made statements to family and coworkers that he was en route to Mexico due to family issues.
Cerrillo's father said she was an only child who loved to sing and wanted to be a model. The father said she was concerned about an unnamed man who wanted to be romantically involved with her, but she wasn't interested because she already had a boyfriend in the Bay Area. Investigators said Cerrillo's boyfriend was not a suspect.
Anyone with information related to the crime was asked to call detectives at (714) 245-8665.