STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. - The remains of the first wife of Jose Rodriguez-Cruz, the man who confessed to murdering Pamela Butler inside her Northwest D.C. home in 2009 and burying her body in Virginia, have been positively identified, two sources tell FOX 5’s Paul Wagner.
Two sources familiar with the investigation said human remains found in Stafford County, Virginia have been positively identified as Marta Rodriguez-Cruz, who had been missing since 1989.
The positive identification was made in recent weeks with DNA taken from a family member. It's unclear when the remains were recovered, if an autopsy had been performed and if a manner of death had been established.
The Arlington County Police Department -- who were investigating Marta Rodriguez-Cruz’s disappearance -- declined to confirm a positive identification has been made. Arlington County police spokesperson Ashley Savage would only say detectives were investigating an active missing person’s case.
The Stafford County Sheriff's Department's public information officer and the Stafford County Commonwealth Attorney's Office have not returned calls to FOX 5 at this time.
When Jose Rodriguez-Cruz was first arrested in April 2017, the fact his first wife had been missing for more than 25 years was used by prosecutors as evidence in the case.
Jose Rodriguez-Cruz had previously been arrested for assaulting Marta Rodriguez-Cruz. She vanished after leaving her job at Saint Elizabeth's Hospital. Years after Marta Rodriguez-Cruz was reported missing, Arlington County police turned up information that suggested she was alive and living in Florida. It was a tip that appeared to check out when a detective went to her Miami-Dade County home.
However, in 2017, DC Police Det. Michael Fulton learned the person claiming to be Marta Rodriguez-Cruz in Florida was actually Jose Rodriguez-Cruz's second wife's sister. She told police Jose Rodriguez-Cruz had given her Marta Rodriguez-Cruz's date of birth and social security number and she took on her identity.
FOX 5 has not been able to reach Marta Rodriguez-Cruz's family at this time.
Sources say her remains were found along Interstate 95 in Stafford County, not far from where Jose Rodriguez-Cruz said he buried Butler. Authorities said Butler's remains were unrecoverable.
Jose Rodriguez-Cruz pleaded guilty to Butler’s murder and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.