Authorities solved another mystery disappearance from 1989 after re-investigating a 2009 cold case. Both victims were women, and the unifying thread in both cases was their current relationship. Marta Rodriguez, who mysteriously vanished in 1989, is the subject of NBC News’ ‘Dateline: A Haunting Stretch of Road.’
Despite the fact that the circumstances surrounding her disappearance were suspicious, the case was not solved for another three decades. So, shall we investigate what transpired?
What Caused Marta Rodriguez’s Death?
Jose Rodriguez-Cruz was Marta Haydee Rodriguez-husband. Cruz’s The 28-year-old was working as a nurse’s aide and residing in Arlington County, Virginia at the time. The couple has a kid named Hansel together.
Things between the pair weren’t ideal, as the authorities would discover later, and Marta’s death was the result. However, she was last seen walking to a bus stop in May 1989.
Marta’s relatives were concerned after she failed to appear in court on May 18, 1989, prompting a missing person report. Marta, on the other hand, seemed to vanish without a trace, and there was no evidence of her whatsoever.
In 1991, human remains were discovered hidden in a highway median strip in Stafford County, Virginia. Marta’s bones were unidentified until DNA testing verified they belonged to her in 2018. The reason of death was given as “unknown.”
Must Read: Pamela Butler Murder Case
Who Killed Marta Rodriguez And Why?
There was a lot of tension between Marta and Jose in the days preceding up to her disappearance. An Arlington County police officer saw Jose carrying Marta down the street while she was bound and gagged in March 1989.
Authorities discovered duct tape and rope in Jose’s car after he was apprehended. Marta had even told police that she was afraid for her safety at the time.
Jose was charged, but the accusations were immediately withdrawn when Marta failed to appear in court to testify against him. Marta worked at a hospital in Washington, DC at the time, and a coworker said she was afraid because Jose was “coming for her.”
However, the inquiry into her disappearance stalled, and Marta’s case remained unsolved until 2000, when she was removed from the missing persons database.
Marta’s name had been used to obtain a driver’s licence in Miami, Florida that year; it was one of Jose’s relatives. While authorities spoke with the woman after receiving an alarm, she claimed to be Marta and said she was well.
The authorities didn’t double-check the images at the time, and Marta’s case was thought to be closed until a twist over two decades later. Before Pamela Butler, Jose’s fiancée, went missing in 2009, he was at the focus of another missing person inquiry.
Jose’s violent behaviour was disclosed throughout the investigation, with a witness alleging she was chained and sexually attacked in 2004. Jose threatened the life of another woman with a gun, according to another witness.
Jose pled guilty to killing Marta in November 2020, after the prosecution presented a mostly circumstantial case based on his violent background. He argued, however, that it was an accident, stating that he gave her drugs for a headache that resulted in her death.
Jose claimed that he buried Marta’s body along a Stafford County roadway. The remains were discovered in 1991, but the inquiry into Pamela’s murder prompted the authorities to try again.
While Pamela’s bones were never located, Marta’s DNA was used to identify her, bringing an end to a decades-long mystery. Jose was eventually found guilty of the murders of both ladies and sentenced to life in prison.