Re­mains dis­cov­ered 27 years ago on I-95 in Stafford be­long to miss­ing Ar­ling­ton wo­man

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - LOCAL PERSPECTIVES - BY KEITH EPPS

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.

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