SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – After seven years, 41-year-old Francisco Jesus Huerta-Martinez was arrested as a suspect in connection to the death of Maria Maricela Astorga-Chavez, a Utah mother who died in August 2015.

Huerta-Martinez was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail over the weekend, accused of the first degree felony charges of murder and aggravated robbery as well as a second degree felony charge of obstructing justice. 

Seven years ago, on August 16, 2015, police found Astorga-Chavez’s body in Colorado, wrapped in a green comforter and a white Calvin Klein comforter. According to police, the comforters were tied to Maria with a long piece of cut electrical cord. Missing was several rings that police say she was known to always wear.

Police found Astorga-Chavez’s body nine days after she was last heard from. According to the booking affidavit, Astorga-Chavez dropped her son off at her sister’s home on August 6, 2015 to spend the night, with plans to pick him up the next morning. After dropping off her son, Astorga-Chavez allegedly got into a Ford Expedition with Huerta-Martinez. According to police, Astorga-Chavez spoke on the phone with her cousin that night around 10 p.m. and sent a text to her cousin just after 1 a.m. on August 7. 

It was the last time anyone had ever heard from Maria Astorga-Chavez.

According to police, Huerta-Martinez went to Fort Worth, Texas and met with a friend around August 9. He allegedly admitted to his friend that he “strangled a person to death, wrapped the body in a blanket, and dumped the body off the side of the road in the mountains of Colorado.” Huerta-Martinez reportedly also said he planned to travel to Mexico.

Through their investigation, officials say they found a bus manifesto that listed Huerta-Martinez’s name. The bus was heading to Queretaro, Mexico on Monday, August 10, indicating Huerta-Martinez had fled the country.

After finding Astorga-Chavez’s body, officers reportedly searched Huerta-Martinez’s Salt Lake County home. There, they say they found a 3-piece comforter set that displayed a picture of a green comforter. Police also reportedly found a Calvin Klein king comforter bag under his bed. During their search, police didn’t report any bedding on his mattress, however, they did report finding a picture of Huerta-Martinez standing in front of his bed which was covered in a green comforter.

Police also found a clothing iron in Huerta-Martinez’s closet that was missing its cord, which allegedly matched the cord Astorga-Chavez was wrapped in. Police also reported finding several beer bottles that had fingerprints from both Maria and Huerta-Martinez. 

On August 20, 2015, an autopsy was completed, determining Maria Astorga-Chavez had been strangled and her death was ruled a homicide.