San Diego

Husband Arrested 1 Year After Wife's ‘Suspicious' Disappearance

The day Maria Guzman was reported missing, her husband told investigators she left their apartment to take a walk

Law enforcement officials arrested the husband of a Vista woman who was reported missing a year ago under "suspicious" circumstances and charged him with first-degree murder.

Maria Elena Guzman-Cordova, 38, was last seen leaving her home on North Santa Fe Avenue on Oct. 13, 2017. Her family reported her missing the following day.

Guzman's husband, Hector Martinez, told police that Guzman left their Vista apartment that night to go for a walk after the two had had an argument. Martinez reported that Guzman didn't take anything with her.

Her family told investigators that she suffered from depression and didn't have her medication.

After nearly a year with and no leads, Guzman's family and the San Diego County Sheriff's Department (SDSO) held a news conference in late September to call for a renewal in the search.

"It’s odd that someone would go missing under these circumstances, without taking a phone without taking their personal belongings, we’re definitely concerned, Maria’s family is concerned," SDSO Lt. Rich Williams said.

Martinez told a Telemundo 20 reporter that it was possible his wife could have run away. When asked if he had a message for his wife who could see the news, Martinez promised her a better life if she returned.

San Diego County Crime Stoppers and homicide detectives with the SDSO offered up to $1,000 for any information that led to an arrest in the case.

On Thursday, more than a year after he told deputies his wife had gone for a walk, Martinez, 39, was arrested by deputies at his home in Vista.

The department said Guzman's remains had recently been found near Palomar Mountain and said that evidence gathered over the course of their investigation linked Martinez to her death.

Investigators believe Martinez transported Guzman's body to the Palomar Mountain area the day she was reported missing or the day before in a four-door white sedan or burgundy SUV.

Martinez is charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bail in the San Diego Central Jail.

Deputies are asking anyone with information about the incident to call the department at (858) 285-6330, or at (858) 565-5200 after hours. Anonymous tips can be made to Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477, or online at The case number is 17153719.

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