New DNA evidence shows that remains found in San Bernardino County are that of a National City woman who disappeared 23 years ago.
Jovita Collazo disappeared in 1992 when she was 38 years old. She left behind a young daughter, who is now 35 years old.
More than two decades later, her former boyfriend, Michael Richardson, pleaded guilty to her murder, though her body was never found.
Richardson, while he admitted guilty, did not disclose how she was killed or where her body was buried.
National City police said Wednesday that San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies positively identified remains found near Apple Valley as Collazo.
They were able to make the identification because National City police Sgt. David Bavencoff asked family members of Collazo for DNA samples in hopes of finding a match.
Investigators said they were unable to determine how she died based on the skeletal remains.
“You did the best you could by actually getting a conviction,” National City police Sgt. David Bavencoff said. “Which is pretty significant to begin with.”
Bavencoff said he was shocked to see some type of resolution in the case.
“We all just assumed he’s going to go to his grave with what he’d done with her and where he put her,” he said.
Richardson, also convicted of two other murders – his wife and her mother – was sentenced to six consecutive life terms without parole.