Suspect Apprehended In Mexico City In Connection With 2015 Murder Of Utah Mother Of 3, Authorities Say

apprehended suspect
Source: West Valley Police

Oct. 4 2022, Published 2:08 p.m. ET

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A man suspected of murdering a Utah woman and dumping her body in Colorado was apprehended in Mexico after seven years on the run and “a yearslong, exhaustive effort” by detectives, authorities announced.

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Law enforcement officials extradited Francisco Jesus Huerta-Martinez from Mexico City in May, and he was booked into the Salt Lake County jail on Oct. 1 in connection with the 2015 slaying of Maria Maricela Astorga-Chavez, the Gephardt Daily reported.

“It is our hope that the extradition back to Utah of Francisco Huerta-Martinez this past week will help bring to a close one painful chapter for the family” of the victim, police in West Valley City, Utah, said in a statement.

Astorga-Chavez, a 31-year-old mother of three sons whose body was found wrapped in comforters bound with an electrical cord off I-70 in Summit County, Colorado, in August 2015, was last seen alive with Huerta-Martinez, police said.

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The suspect was indicted in 2015 on charges of murder, obstructing justice, and aggravated robbery, but the case went cold in 2019 after investigators exhausted leads as to his whereabouts, police said.

According to court documents obtained by the Gephardt Daily, the suspect allegedly admitted to a friend that he “strangled a person to death, wrapped the body in a blanket, and dumped the body off the side of the road in the mountains of Colorado.”

Authorities have not released how they located Huerta-Martinez.


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