Officers from the Nassau County Police narcotics bureau made the arrest on Amsterdam Avenue near 170th Street at 8:15 p.m.
The victim, 24-year-old Joanna Bird, was found stabbed to death on Thursday in her New Cassel home on Grand Boulevard.
Her two young children were not home at the time.
Valdez-Cruz was Bird's former boyfriend, police said.
A spokesman for the Nassau County District Attorney's office says Valdez-Cruz previously served several months in jail after being convicted in September of violating a court order of protection.
The victim's uncle said, "the system failed her." He said the suspect "was just locked up a little over a month ago for kidnapping her, strangling her and trying to throw her in the trunk of a car. He put a gun to her head...and they let him out."
Eyewitness News was also told by her relatives that Bird had a restraining order.
"Cops came here before for him...they came and took him and then a couple of weeks later he back around her," Bird's neighbor said.
Valdez-Cruz was charged with second degree murder. He was scheduled to be arraigned on Saturday.
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