Watch Live: Day 9 of the preliminary hearing for Larry Millete underway Tuesday
CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Several detectives testified Monday regarding the investigation and search warrants for the Millete home, phones and social media accounts.
The preliminary hearing ended its eighth day Monday and is anticipated for at least one more day.
Investigator Mathew Grindley, an investigator with the San Diego District Attorney’s Office, provided evidence that was displayed in the courtroom of Maya’s search history prior to her disappearance, which included searches such as “child support” and “how much mortgage can I afford.”
Larry Millete’s search history throughout 2020 displayed searches relating to drugs as a sedative and “subliminal” messages. Larry had also emailed spellcasters to buy potions and try to make Maya fall in love with him again.
During a search warrant, K9s did not detect human remains in the Lexus SUV, the vehicle Larry allegedly drove to the beach the day after Maya Millete went missing, according to Chula Vista Police Detective Lorenzo “Roman” Ruiz.
The Lexus SUV in question has been in possession of the Chula Vista Police Department since January 23, 2021.
Detective Vicente with the Chula Vista Police Department started day eight of the preliminary hearing on the stand. He detailed the police investigation and statements Larry Millete had told police in regard to his wife’s disappearance. Vicente said Maya’s cell phone, a black navy federal credit union credit card and a department of defense card have been missing since Maya’s disappearance.
Vicente testified that on January 8, 2021, when Larry told detectives he was allegedly at the beach, the high was 63 degrees and the low was 50 degrees, with foggy conditions. Larry had told police that Lazarus had a wetsuit. According to Vicente, police reviewed surveillance video from Solana Beach and Torrey Pines State Beach, they asked lifeguards and state park officers, who said they were not able to find any evidence and corroborate that Larry was at the beach on January 8, 2021.
Vicente said he did not see the cooler that Larry had allegedly put inside the back of the Lexus. This comes after surveillance video showed that Larry got into their Lexus SUV early Friday morning and repositioned the vehicle so it was further reversed into the driveway toward the garage. Larry had told police he moved the vehicle several feet closer to the garage so he could load the cooler into their car. Vicente said Larry had told them different stories about what he placed inside the cooler.
He also said that Larry did not allow his kids to be interviewed by police.
Vicente said the Chula Vista Police Department interviewed the man Maya allegedly was having an affair with, but no details about the findings were discussed in the courtroom.
“According to Larry, he believed the lover was responsible,” Vicente said. “There’s no evidence indicating that she was with him.”
Detective Vicente said there were hundreds of tips, the defense asked specifically about three tips where people believed they saw Maya in Plano, Texas, Las Vegas, Nevada, and another tip in Carlsbad. None of the tips were founded.
Vicente said there were two ransom requests, one via phone and one via social media, which did not yield any findings.
The defense asked about allegations of human trafficking, the detective said he did not have any evidence to pursue allegations she was trafficked.
“I have no evidence that she had any illness or mental illness,” Detective Vicente said.
The defense asked about speaking with the Millete children during the investigation, “Lara May heard noises in the house, and she believes that it was her mom, and this was very similar to Larry’s statement that he provided to me, that he heard noises and assumed it was May.”
“He heard noises but did not see May on the eighth, (and) neither did the children,” Detective Vicente said.
The defense asked about alleged gunshots that were heard over security camera footage in the neighborhood.
“There was audio provided by a neighbor of loud bangs, which we collected and forwarded to the FBI to have it further analyzed to see if they were in fact gunshots, our experts could not definitively say they were in fact gunshots,” Vicente said.
The defense questioned why the detective discussed the findings that the Millete children were heard outside late at night on January 7, 2021, allegedly in the same time frame that Larry had said he and May had a fight.
“I believe there was some sort of fight and he sent the kids out so they could continue their argument,” Vicente said.
The defense questioned Vicente about Robin Famador, a neighbor of the Millete’s who was interviewed by the Chula Vista Police Department, who claimed he did not hear any noise from the Millete home on January 7, 2021.
During several cross-examinations, many of the defense counsel’s questions were met with objections. Judge Dwayne Moring has, on several occasions, coached the defense counsel Bonita Martinez on what she is and is not allowed to ask witnesses based on foundation, lack of evidence, or asking the wrong witnesses about the wrong reports. “Counsel you’ve had a year to prepare for today’s hearing,” Judge Moring said during the eighth day of the preliminary hearing Monday morning.
Mathew Grindley, an investigator with the San Diego District Attorney’s Office, took the stand shortly before the lunch recess Monday. Grindley was asked to assist in the investigation into Maya Millete on April 8, 2021, by looking into social media and cell phone records.
Grindley viewed T-Mobile phone records, first obtained via a search warrant, to find out when Maya’s phone was last used. Grindley said he found messages between Maya and the man she was allegedly having an affair with. Grindley said the search warrant found messages between the man and Maya were constant, it had deep conversations and were sexual in nature.
The search warrant found that in early 2021, the man told Maya through messages, Larry had contacted the man’s wife about the alleged affair and he was concerned for Maya’s safety.
Grindley said the two would have daily communication and the last time they communicated was on January 7, 2021, at 2:03 p.m.
“The cell phone battery could have died, the cell phone could have been destroyed,” Grindley testified as some of the possibilities. He said the last recorded cell phone activity was an outgoing phone call from Maya Millete’s cell phone to Alexandra McIntosh for 10 minutes and 20 seconds at 5:48 p.m. Grindley testified that the phone number was to a family law attorney in Carlsbad.
Grindley testified that the law firm Maya called had a record of her calling in on January 7, 2021, and forwarded an email from the law office that discussed the phone call with Millete.
Grindley said the last ‘data session,’ which can be generated passively, even without someone using the phone because applications can be running in the background.
At around 11:31 a.m. “The last transaction regarding May Millete’s account ended on January 8, 2021, around 1:25 in the morning.”
According to search records, at 1:11 p.m. on January 7, 2021, the last text message sent from Maya’s phone was to Ricky Lincoln, which said “Thanks Rick” Lincoln is related to Larry Millete, and is often referred to as Uncle Rick.
Evidence of text messages from Larry Millete to various people was shown in the courtroom Monday. Grindley, who investigated the messages, testified. The text messages were between Larry and various people including his boss and friend and his aunt. Text messages displayed were from Larry to his boss and friend, Terry Fonville, which Larry had copied from Maya and sent to his boss.
On January 6, 2021, at 9:52 a.m., Larry sent a message to Terry, which appeared to be copied from a previous text from May that said “I DON’T WANT TO BE YOUR WIFE ANYMORE.”
Later that morning, Larry texted his boss that he would not be going to work on January 6, 2021.
“Not coming in today it’s been an exhausting day full of getting yelled at and following throughout the house drama. Like a floor mat, I took it all in, I just can’t fathom what’s going on. This is surreal. Like life is hopeless.”
The following day, January 7, 2021, the day Maya was last seen, Larry’s boss asked what Larry’s ETA was. Larry texted, “I’m not right” and later texted, “I’m about to lose it.”
On January 7, 2021, at 9:21 p.m., Larry sent a screenshot of balances for cryptocurrencies in Coinbase to both of his daughter’s phones.
On January 8, 2021, Larry’s dad texted him telling Larry to turn on his phone because Larry’s boss was calling Larry’s dad to find out where Larry was, an indication Larry did not go to work on Friday, January 8.
The phone had been turned off around 6:30 a.m. and not turned back on until 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 8, 2021. Grindley testified this was “interesting,” and a pattern he did not see in any other previous records from Larry’s phone. He said during the 12-hour window, several people were trying to get ahold of Larry including Maya’s family members and Larry’s coworkers.
Chula Vista Police Detective Lorenzo “Roman” Ruiz also briefly discussed the removal of an illegal firearm Larry Millete had in his possession. Ruiz said it was seized during an October 2021 search warrant. Larry Millete is also charged with possession of an unlawful firearm.