SALT LAKE CITY — Two men that Salt Lake police have wanted to question for 10 years in connection with an unsolved murder have now officially been named as persons of interest.
In 2007, the body of Maria Del Carmen Rosas-Sanchez, 39, was found in her apartment, 1054 N. Victoria Way (940 West) on Sept. 10. She ran a catering business out of her residence. An employee who showed up at 6:30 a.m. on a Monday to start work discovered her body, said Salt Lake Police detective Greg Wilking.
She was found in a bedroom with a pillow covering her face. When officers removed the pillow, they found a pair of men's boxer shorts tied around Rosas-Sanchez's eyes and a gunshot wound under her chin, according to a search warrant served in 2007. Investigators believe she had been dead for at least 24 hours.
The last person to be seen with Rosas-Sanchez was 32-year-old Guadalupe Jiminez Martinez. Police say he was either Rosas-Sanchez's husband or live-in boyfriend.
"We never (found) a formal marriage certificate here in the United States. But by all accounts they were husband and wife to some extent," Wilking said Wednesday.
Martinez disappeared after Rosas-Sanchez's body was found, as did Martinez's cousin, 33-year-old Rafael Gutierrez. Martinez and Gutierrez reportedly hung out together constantly, according to court documents. Investigators believe both fled to Mexico.
Court documents unsealed in 2007 state that Guiterrez, who lived close to Rosas-Sanchez, told his landlord he was headed to Mexico due to a "family emergency" and that he was last seen driving away with Martinez.
The landlord turned a bag of garbage over to police that Gutierrez had placed on the curb. In the bag, investigators found a plastic bag full of bullets. The bullets matched the type used to shoot Rosas-Sanchez, court records state. The shirt Gutierrez was wearing that night also was found in the trash, the search warrant states.
Martinez worked out of state and "was very often gone" from his Utah home, Wilking said. Friends of Rosas-Sanchez said the two had a history of domestic violence problems, and she filed for a protective order against him in 2005, according to court documents. He also sexually abused Rosas-Sanchez and was "extremely jealous" of other men, at one point telling her that if he couldn't have her, no one else could either, court documents state.
As for Gutierrez's relationship with Rosas-Sanchez, "he was known to Maria. And what their relationship was, is not completely understood at this point. We don't know if this is a possible lover's triangle. We don't know," Wilking said.
Detectives have wanted to question both Martinez, now 42, and Guiterrez, now 43, since 2007.
"We need to talk to them. We never got a chance to talk to them when Maria turned up deceased," Wilking said. "She turns up dead. These two turned up missing. And by all accounts, they took off."
Earlier this month, Salt Lake police served a search warrant on a cellphone in an effort to find the men, proof that the cold case is being looked at again. The phone "was not searched or downloaded during the (original) investigation," the warrant states.
According to the search warrant affidavit, police did not find any signs of forced entry into Rosas-Sanchez's residence.Comment on this story
"The front and rear doors were not forced. All windows were undamaged with drapes and blinds in place," the warrant states. "The victim's apartment was not ransacked, and valuable items such as cash and a television were left in place and not stolen. Your Affiant believes from training and experience that the person who is responsible for the death of Maria Rosas-Sanchez knew her and was probably invited in to the apartment."
Anyone with information about the case can call Salt Lake police at 799-INFO.