CHULA VISTA, Calif. — San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan on Tuesday shared some of the evidence that led to the arrest of Larry Millete, who was behind bars Tuesday on suspicion of murdering his wife, Maya.
Maya Millete, a mother of three, disappeared from her family’s Chula Vista home on Jan. 7. Her husband was the only person of interest named by police in the case.
In a joint press conference with the Chula Vista Police Department, Stephan said that on Monday, her office filed a criminal case in San Diego County Superior Court charging Larry with Maya’s murder. She confirmed Maya’s body is still missing, and that her office filed the case based on evidence that was found during a nine-month investigation. She went on to lay out evidence from an unsealed portion of the arrest warrants.
Stephan began by discussing an apparent pending divorce between the couple.
Investigators found that starting in 2020, Maya wanted a divorce, but Larry did not, Stephan said. She said that the last recorded call Maya, who also goes by May, made was on Jan. 7 to a divorce attorney. Stephan said investigators know Larry was aware of the call because of text messages he sent to his boss letting him know that it was final.
Maya had set an appointment for Jan. 12 to meet with a lawyer to carry out a divorce, Stephan said. Maya’s sister, Maricris Drouaillet, told FOX 5 in March that Maya wanted to meet with the lawyer after a weekend birthday celebration for her daughter and had asked her for $10,000 that same week.
Stephan went on to discuss “a trail of things that were happening that were of great concern.” Stephan said Larry, in an effort to hold on to Maya, resorted to contacting “spellcasters” in 2020 who were asked to make Maya want to stay in the marriage. In December, those messages became more threatening, Stephan said.
“He was asking for May to become incapacitated, for May to be in an accident, for her to have broken bones so she could stay home, thus displaying his homicidal ideations to harm May,” Stephan said.
On the afternoon of Jan. 7, Larry sent a “really telling” text, Stephan said. He said, “‘I think she wants me to snap’ and ‘I’m shaking inside ready to snap.'”
The last message Maya sent was to her family that night at 8:15 p.m. via Facebook Messenger, Stephan said. Maya’s phone activity stopped a few hours later, at 1:25 a.m. Jan. 8.
Stephan said detectives obtained security footage from the neighboring home indicating that at 9:57 p.m. Jan. 7, the sound of nine loud bangs were recorded. A neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous, shared a portion of this recording with FOX 5 in April. It had been discovered after the neighbor was combing through footage after their camera picked up audio of children playing outside after the bangs were heard.
Due to the quality of the recording, the FBI could not confirm they were gunshots, Stephan said, adding that neighbors heard the Millete children playing in the backyard that night about 10:34 p.m.
At 5:58 a.m. the next morning, security video obtained by Chula Vista police showed Larry moving his black Lexus GX460 to a position where a video camera could not capture whether a body was in the back or not, Stephan said.
At 6:45 a.m., Larry left his home and did not return for 11 hours and 21 minutes, Stephan said, leaving his phone behind so that his location could not be tracked. She said he took his 4-year-old and left the two older children – ages 9 and 11 – at home.
He told investigators he went to Solana Beach, though when investigators showed him a map, he pointed to Torrey Pines State Beach, which is four miles south, Stephan said.
That day, his employer called Larry and Maya, saying it was not like Larry to not show up for work and wondering where he was. Larry’s father also called to see where he was but got no response — the phone was not on. His father texted him, begging him to turn on his phone because his boss was calling about his job, Stephan said.
On Jan. 26, detectives served a search warrant to see the contents of the 2015 SUV’s infotainment system. The report indicated a “navigation event” at 3:29 p.m. on Jan. 8 for Larry’s home address.
“Two and a half hours before returning to the home, he is entering his home address to get to the home,” Stephan said.
“I am giving this information so the public understands we do not have a vicinity for where the body may be,” Stephan continued. “It may be out two and a half hours, or may further, or closer. And that’s why we need the public’s help.”
At around 6:30 p.m. that day, Maya’s brother went to the family home, which Larry had returned to by that point, Stephen said. Stephan said the brother was worried about Maya because they had not heard from her “and she was always in contact on her phone.”
Maya’s brother went up to her room, knocked on the door, then went out to the street and looked into her room but did not see any lights on, Stephan said. Larry first told Maya’s brother that he was at work and did not know what Maya was doing, but later changed his story, telling him that he had gone to the beach with his 4-year-old, Stephan said.
Stephan made it a point to note that Maya’s sister Maricris — not Larry — called police to report that Maya was missing.
The following day, on Jan. 9, Larry’s spellcaster messages turned from Maya to wanting to punish a man he blamed for the failed relationship, Stephan said.
Stephan went on to say that when a search warrant was served at Larry’s home, investigators were looking for firearms registered to him. Larry had not yet turned over a 40 caliber gun, which remained outstanding Tuesday, Stephan said. She made a plea for anyone who may have the gun to turn it into police.
Stephan said looking for “proof of life” is part of a no-body investigation, and for nine months, there has been no such proof. Stephan went on to say that after her last communication on Jan. 7, there was no withdrawal from any of her bank accounts.
Stephan said a key piece of evidence was the whereabouts of Maya’s phone.
“After an extensive re-creation and experiment that was done in September of 2021, it was clear that May’s phone was at that San Miguel Ranch neighborhood, at her home or thereabouts,” Stephan said. “That means that May did not leave, did not go anywhere. She always had her phone.”