WASHINGTON - The investigation into the 2009 disappearance of Pamela Butler has revealed stunning new information in the case. The man accused of abducting her was also accused of kidnapping and assaulting his first wife who has been missing now for 28 years.
On Tuesday, Arlington County police confirmed cold case detectives are sifting through the records of unidentified human remains in hopes of finding new leads in the case.
Marta Haydee Rodriguez disappeared in 1989 after accusing her husband, Jose Rodriguez-Cruz, of kidnapping and assaulting her. She was reported missing and turned up alive 11 years later – or that is what police had thought.
But when D.C. Police Det. Michael Fulton began investigating, he uncovered a fraud that unraveled a lie. Haydee Rodriguez was not alive and well living in Virginia. In fact, she had never been found and is now presumed dead.
According to a court affidavit filed in the case, Fulton discovered in October of 2000, a Metro Dade County, Florida detective reported that he made contact with Haydee Rodriguez. But when he was able to see a copy of the photo identification given to the police back then, he realized they had been fooled.
The affidavit says Rodriguez-Cruz's gave his second wife's sister his first wife's date of birth and other information.
"That's an open investigation,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah Sines. “It's been reopened in Virginia and Virginia law enforcement is working very closely with us and they are actively trying to find some justice for Marta Rodriguez's family.”
On March 29, 1989, Haydee Rodriguez had left her residence in the 1800 block of Wilson Boulevard in Arlington and was heading to work when a nearby Arlington police officer saw Rodriguez-Cruz trying to force his wife into a car. The officer arrested Rodriguez-Cruz and he was charged with abduction. A court date was set for May 18, but Haydee Rodriguez never showed up. Seven days later, her roommate reported her missing.
Without Haydee Rodriguez as a witness, the charges against Rodriguez-Cruz were dropped.
We asked Arlington County police if there are any cases that have jumped out so far.
“I don't know of any that are particularly promising, but we are trying to exert all investigative leads to try to identify any possible remains that may be hers,” said Arlington County Police spokesperson Ashley Savage.
After making that contact in Florida, Arlington County police closed the missing persons case.
The evidence against Rodriguez-Cruz, who is now charged with the murder of Pamela Butler, is included in a 29-page affidavit. Detectives believe he killed Butler inside her Northwest D.C. home and then disposed of her body.
Butler's brother, Derrick, who was always pushing the police to solve his sister’s case, said he was stunned by the new details.
"It just shows this guy is calculating in what he does,” he said. “It shows that when he went to my sister’s house, he went there to kill her.”
Pamela Butler’s body has never been found.
Previous FOX 5 coverage of disappearance of Pamela Butler: