Eudelia Rojas, 46, of Oxnard, vanished on Saturday night and was found dead in another county nearly a week later, say police

By KC Baker
July 22, 2021 12:43 PM
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Josefino Maldonado; Eudelia Gonzalez Rojas
Josefino Maldonado; Eudelia Gonzalez Rojas
| Credit: Oxnard Police Department (2)

A California woman who went missing on Saturday was found dead miles from her home, and now her ex-husband is charged with her murder.

On Saturday at 8:30 p.m., Eudelia Gonzalez Rojas, 46, of Oxnard, was seen by family members getting into a vehicle "with an unknown person" and driving away from her residence, the Oxford Police Department said in a release.

Her family grew worried when she failed to return home that night and didn't respond to multiple calls. Her family reported her missing on Sunday night.

Detectives looking into the case determined that Rojas vanished under "suspicious circumstances."

On Thursday, detectives served a search warrant on the home of Rojas's ex-husband, Josefino Cayetano Maldonado, in Salinas.

Maldonado was interviewed by detectives and allegedly confessed to killing his ex-wife in Ventura County and disposing of her body in Santa Barbara County, police say in the release.

On Friday, based on information from Maldonado, detectives located Rojas's body in an embankment on the side of the U.S. Route 101 Freeway, North of the Gaviota Tunnel in Santa Barbara County.

Rojas' body was well-hidden in the embankment, which would have made it difficult to spot, Sgt. Edgar Fernandez of the department's major crimes unit told the VC Star.

Maldonado was arrested on Friday and booked into the Ventura County pre-trial detention facility.

He is charged with murder and is being held without bail as he awaits his next court date on Aug. 10, KION reports.

He has not yet entered a plea. His public defender did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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Police have not said how Rojas died and are still investigating motive.

Investigators said that Maldonado allegedly killed Rojas on Saturday, hours after she was seen getting into a vehicle, prosecutors said, VC Star reports.

The former couple had three children together, including two grown children.

They were regularly in contact with each other about their children, Fernandez told the VC Star.

Detectives are asking anyone with information on the incident to contact Detective Chip Buttell (805) 385-7688, Detective Michael McManama (805) 385-7662 or to go online via the Oxnard Police Department's website www.oxnardpd.org, and clicking on Report Suspicious Activity.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.