The suspect is Julio Pliego, 43, of San Jose, who is considered armed and dangerous and may be headed for Mexico, police said.
Pliego is wanted in connection with the death of Veronica Lozano, of San Jose, whose body was found in a room at the motel, located at 2660 Monterey Road. Police said she been "brutally murdered."
Officers responded to the motel after receiving a call at 1:23 p.m. from an employee who had discovered Lozano.
Police believe Pliego may have fled in a 1997 Nissan van with California license No. 6ZQD210.
Police are also trying to locate the victim's vehicle, described as a white 1996 Chevrolet Suburban with license number of 3RWR194, police said.
Anyone with information on the case or Pliego's whereabouts is urged to call 911 or contact San Jose police's homicide unit at (408) 277-5283.