Husband arrested on suspicion of murder year after wife’s disappearance

Maria Elena Guzman-Cordova

VISTA, Calif. — Sheriff’s detectives Thursday arrested a Vista man suspected of murdering his wife a year ago and dumping her body near Palomar Mountain, officials announced.

On October 14, 2017, 38-year-old Maria Guzman was reported missing from her family’s apartment in Vista. Her 39-year-old husband, Hector Martinez, reported that Guzman had left the home around 9 p.m. the night before after the two had an argument. He told Vista Sheriff’s deputies that his wife did not take anything with her.

Guzman’s remains were recently found in a rural area near Palomar Mountain and were examined by the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office staff, who were unable to determine a cause and manner of death. Evidence gathered over the course of the investigation linked Martinez to Guzman’s murder.

Sheriff’s homicide detectives arrested Martinez, 39, near his Vista home Thursday morning. He was booked into the San Diego Central Jail for murder and is being held without bail.

Detectives believe Martinez transported Guzman’s body to the Palomar Mountain area on October 13 or 14, 2017 in a four-door white sedan or burgundy SUV. Anyone who may have seen related suspicious activity that weekend is asked to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Unit at 858-285-6330 or 858-565-5200, or remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.