LONGMONT, Colo. (KDVR) — The remains of a woman missing for more than four years have been positively identified, the district attorney’s office and Longmont Public Services said Thursday.
Rita Gutierrez-Garcia went missing after last being seen near a downtown Longmont bar on March 18, 2018 around 2:30 a.m.
An exact location of the remains in Weld County was provided to investigators, found on April 28 and later positively identified as Gutierrez-Garcia’s on Thursday.
The suspect in her disappearance, Juan Jose Figueroa, 33, was indicted by a grand jury in June 2021 on kidnapping and first-degree murder charges and the prosecution of a “no-body homicide” moved forward with the trial set for May.
Figueroa was already in state prison after being sentenced to 93 years to life for an unrelated sexual assault case involving another victim.
The indictment explained that Figueroa told a cellmate he strangled Gutierrez-Garcia and disposed of her body before returning to the home of his sister.
The indictment also said Figueroa told his cellmate she called him a “weirdo” which caused him to punch her, knocking her unconscious and strangle her.
During wiretap recordings, Figueroa said he had buried Gutierrez-Garcia’s body and that the only way anyone would find it is “if police inserted a probe into his brain.”
The case is no longer set for trial and Figueroa’s next court appearance is set for June 3 to hear the guilty plea and sentencing.