Tulane County, Calif. (NBC News/) — Six months after California mother-of-four Cecilia Cabrera vanished, her husband and another woman have been arrested for her murder.
Francisco Valdivia, 37, who is Cecilia’s husband, and Rosalina Lopez, 39, were taken into custody and booked for murder in connection with Cecilia’s disappearance.
Valdivia was the last person known to be with Cecilia. The two reportedly spent the evening of June 9 at the Tachi Palace Casino in Lemoore, California. Surveillance images show Cecilia leaving the casino in her dark grey Chevrolet Malibu just before 1:00 a.m. Several hours later, Cecilia’s car was found burning in an orchard near Goshen, about 30 miles from the casino.
Rosalina Lopez is married to Valdivia in Mexico, according to authorities.
Sheriff Mike Boudreaux of the Tulane County Sheriff’s Office told reporters at a press conference Tuesday morning, that Valdivia had used Cecilia “in a business-type setting” to gain legal residency in the United States.
Few details were available, but the sheriff said there is specific forensic and digital evidence that has been collected in the case.
“This is a circumstantial case, and we must protect the evidence that we will present to the District Attorney’s office for a successful prosecution,” Sheriff Boudreaux said. “We do believe the motive surrounds this relationship of the three people. It’s complex.”
About a week after Cecilia vanished, Valdivia was arrested on unrelated drug charges, for allegedly operating multiple marijuana grow sites, according to the Tulane County Sheriff’s Office. It was during the investigation into Cecilia’s disappearance, that police uncovered the sites. He was scheduled to be released on those charges this week.
Cecilia’s body has not been found. Authorities are asking anyone with information to come forward so Cecilia’s loved ones can lay her to rest.
Family members and friends have been desperately searching for Cecilia in the months since she vanished.
Things were indeed complex in Cecilia’s life and had been for some time. According to Cecilia’s close friend Ariana Flores, Valdivia did not live with Cecilia and her four children; he was living with another woman. It’s unclear if the woman referred to by Flores is Rosalina Lopez.
The relationship was complicated, Ariana told Dateline, but Cecilia had confided in her friend that she had had enough.
“If she did anything wrong, it was being with that man,” Ariana told Dateline in October. “She deserved better. But when she talked about leaving him, she would tell me that he would not let her go.”
Valdivia and Lopez are being held without bail.
Cecilia was featured in Dateline’s Missing in America article series in October.
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