Man accused of dumping woman’s body on Interstate 70 formally charged
A warrant was set on Wednesday, October 21 for a Utah man charged with the death of a West Valley City woman. Francisco Jesus Huerta-Martinez’s bail was set at $1 million, cash only, after a Colorado Department of Transportation worker discovered 32-year-old Maria Astorga Chavez’s body near Interstate 70 in Summit County in August.
Huerta-Martinez, 34, was charged with first-degree felony murder in 3rd district court, as well as first-degree felony aggravated robbery and second-degree felony obstructing justice, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.
West Valley City Police Department officers believe Huerta-Martinez boarded a bus to Queretaro, Mexico on August 10, after they located a list of names of bus passengers.
Astorga-Chavez was last seen on August 6, when she dropped off her son at her sister’s home, intending to pick him him up the next morning. She then left with Huerta-Martinez in a white Ford Expedition, the charges read. But she never returned the following day.
Days later, Huerta-Martinez allegedly met with a friend in Fort Worth, Texas on August 9, and “told the friend he had 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.”
Astorga-Chavez’s body was found on August 16, near a dirt road off of Interstate 70 used as a turn-around for snowmobiles. Her body was found wrapped in a green comforter and a Calvin Klein comforter, and missing several rings she was known to wear. A Colorado medical examiner determined that the cause of death was strangulation.
When officers searched Huerta-Martinez’s Salt Lake County home, they did not find bedding on his mattress, according to the charges. They found two bags for comforters and a photo of Huerta-Martinez in his room, with a green comforter on his bed. Throughout the search, officers allegedly fond a clothes iron with its cord cut off, that matched a cord that was tied around Astorga-Chavez’s body.
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