SAN DIEGO — A man accused of strangling his wife to death and then fleeing to Mexico was arraigned in a South Bay courtroom Wednesday.
The San Diego Police Department is calling this a tragic case of domestic violence.
German Armando Luna Salazar, 44, appeared in person in the courtroom with a Spanish interpreter and pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Just after midnight on the Fourth of July, a citizen reported a body inside of a vehicle parked in a lot in the 4400 block of Camino De La Plaza in San Ysidro. Officers responded and found 32-year-old Leyva Elizabeth Oregel Garcia dead in the vehicle. She had been reported missing from Guadalupe, CA on July 2. That’s about 302 miles north from where she was found dead. It’s not clear where the murder took place.
According to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office, the female suffered blunt force trauma to her upper body and died by strangulation.
After Salazar allegedly murdered his wife, the 44-year-old was seen leaving the area on foot and possibly entered Mexico.
More than a month later, on Aug.19, Salazar was taken into custody at the San Ysidro Port of Entry around 10:45 a.m. He was booked into San Diego County Jail and had his first court appearance Wednesday before Judge Carlos Varela.
Salazar is due back in court on Oct. 10.
According to a GoFundMe, appearing set up by the victim’s family, she leaves behind two young daughters.
Some of the victim’s family appeared via video to listen to Salazar’s arraignment.
The Deputy District Attorney assigned to this case said the suspect faces 25 years to life for the murder charge and another one year for the weapons charge.
“Not guilty plea and denial of allegations are entered, the public defenders office will be appointed to represent Mr. Luna on this matter. In this case Mr. Luna is currently in custody, matters set at no bail,” the judge said Wednesday.