The body of 32-year-old Karla Villagra-Garzon was discovered late Tuesday night by police in a vacant home in Chatham Township, N.J. Union prosecutors said the location was 20 miles from where Villagra-Garzon, a resident of Elizabeth, lived.
The victim's husband, 39-year-old Abayuba Rivas, is charged with first-degree murder and other offenses in her death, prosecutors said. Rivas was the one who initially reported Villagra-Garzon missing on Feb. 23, saying she left home to go to a Walgreens drugstore to get medicine for her 2-year-old daughter. That was the last time anyone reported seeing the woman alive.
CBS New York reports that Rivas even gave news interviews about his wife's disappearance. However, after an investigation by Elizabeth police, the Union County Homicide Task Force, and the New Jersey State Police Missing Persons Unit, authorities identified Rivas as the prime suspect in Villagra-Garzon's murder.
Officials have not released a motive for the crime or commented on what brought them to the abandoned home where the body was found.
Prosecutors revealed that an autopsy by the Union County Medical Examiner's office showed Villagra-Garzon's cause of death was asphyxiation, with blunt force trauma contributing.
Rivas was ordered held on $2 million bond by New Jersey Superior Court Judge Joseph P. Donohue, the station reports.