Remains discovered 27 years ago on I-95 in Stafford belong to missing Arlington woman
Remains found along Interstate 95 in Stafford County 27 years ago have been identified as missing Arlington County resident Marta Hayden Rodriguez, state police announced Wednesday.
Rodriguez was 28 years old when she was reported missing in 1989. Her remains were found in the I-95 median about a mile north of the Courthouse Road exit in Stafford on Feb. 3, 1991, by Civil War relic hunters.
The identity of the victim remained a mystery until recently, when DNA testing confirmed that it was Rodriguez.
Rodriguez was the first wife of Jose Rodriguez-Cruz, who is serving 12 years in prison after admitting that he killed 47-year-old Pamela Butler in her home in Washington on Feb. 13, 2009.
Police last year searched a section of median in Stafford near where Rodriguez’s remains were found after Rodriguez-Cruz told police where he discarded the body, but were unable to find Butler. Police believe her remains had been scattered during various construction work in the area.
State police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said charges are now pending against RodriguezCruz in connection with his first wife’s death.
According to police reports, Rodriguez-Cruz was arrested for assaulting Rodriguez prior to her disappearance. Arlington police were under the impression for some time that the woman was alive and living in Florida.
But last year, police learned that the woman who was claiming to be Marta Rodriguez was actually the sister of Jose Rodriguez-Cruz’s second wife. She told police that she had assumed the dead woman’s identity after Rodriguez-Cruz gave her the woman’s date of birth and Social Security number.
When her skull was discovered in 1991, police said there was at least a year’s worth of vegetative growth through the bones. The only clothing found was part of a bra, and a yellow watch and interlocking rings were also recovered.
Her DNA was tested against that of hundreds of missing people in an effort to determine the identity before police realized that Marta Rodriguez was still missing.