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Net Dropping on Slain Stripper’s Lover

Ohio- One of exotic dancer Catherine Woods’ two boyfriends was in Ohio for her funeral yesterday – and it wasn’t yoga instructor Paul Cortez [pictured].

The long-haired Lothario who wooed Woods with some slick dance moves of his own at a local gym was ordered by cops to sit tight in East Harlem, where he lives, police sources said.

“Interest has shifted to Cortez because his statements just aren’t holding up,” a police source said.

Cortez, 25, appears to be the mystery man who called Woods seven times in succession from a cell phone on Sunday night, shortly before somebody burst into her E. 86th St. apartment and slit her throat, the source said.

Investigators grew suspicious of Cortez after he told detectives he had been at his apartment on E. 106th St. when he made the call. He actually was on First Ave., between E. 85th and E. 86th Sts., much closer to Woods’ apartment, the source said.

Meanwhile, cops were trying to enhance a blurry image from a surveillance tape to see whether it had captured Cortez outside the building where Woods’ dream of dancing on Broadway died with her in Apartment 2-D.

Cortez, who has given cops a DNA sample, has not been charged with a crime.

Police have said Woods may have known her attacker because there were no signs of forced entry. She fought her killer, and there were no visible marks on Cortez.

His father, who lives in Minnesota and has not talked to him since Thanksgiving, is standing by his son. “I still believe my son is innocent,” Manuel Cortez said yesterday.

Woods lived with longtime flame David Haughn, 23, an aspiring rapper from Columbus who worked as a doorman. He has told cops he was fetching his car to drive Woods to the strip joint where she danced topless to pay the rent.

Haughn also has given a DNA sample to cops and was, for a time, the primary focus of the investigation. He did not speak yesterday at Woods’ funeral at the Linworth United Methodist Church, which was attended by hundreds of her loved ones.

The Ohio State University marching band, which Woods’ father directs, played “Amazing Grace” and “Carmen Ohio.”

Two friends, Jennifer Curren and Katie Miller, performed ballet in Woods’ memory before her flower-covered coffin, and her high school pal, Sahaja Parsa, moved many to tears with her eulogy.

“She danced into our lives and danced into our hearts,” said Parsa, 21. “She was always someone you can rely on, to make you laugh and chase your tears away.”

Woods’ father refused to dwell on her slaying.

“She loved many people and many people loved her,” Jon Woods said. “In the end, what could be more important?”

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