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Salinas man charged with murder of ex-wife in Ventura County

OXNARD, Calif. (KION)

UPDATE 7/21/2021 11 a.m. A Salinas man has been charged with the murder of his ex-wife in Ventura County, according to KION's sister station in the area.

KEYT reports that the man, identified as 41-year-old Josefino Maldonado, appeared in court Tuesday. He is being held without bail at the Ventura County Jail.

Oxnard police arrested Maldonado last week when they conducted a search of his Salinas home. His ex-wife, 46-year-old Eudelia Gonzalez Rojas, was missing, and during an interview, police said Maldonado confessed to her murder. Her body was later found down an embankment near Highway 101 in Santa Barbara County.

Maldonado is expected to appear in court again on Aug. 10.

PREVIOUS STORY: A missing Oxnard woman has been found dead five days after her disappearance, and investigators say her ex-husband was arrested following a search in Salinas.

Oxnard police said 46-year-old Eudelia Gonzalez Rojas was last seen by family members when she got into a vehicle with an unknown person on Saturday and drove away from her home. She did not return home that night or respond to phone calls, so family members reported her missing Sunday night.

Detectives and the Missing Persons Unit at the Oxnard Police Department started investigating the disappearance, and they said they found evidence that led them to upgrade the case from voluntary missing to suspicious circumstances.

Eudelia Gonzalez Rojas

On Thursday, Oxnard detectives served a search warrant at a home in Salinas belonging to Rojas' ex-husband in the 2000 block of Santa Rita Street. When he was interviewed by detectives, they said he confessed to killing Rojas in Ventura County and leaving her body in Santa Barbara County.

Police said they are processing the area where the murder reportedly happened. The victim's body was found down an embankment off Highway 101 north of the Gaviota Tunnel in Santa Barbara County. A search and rescue team is helping detectives recover her body. The suspect told detectives about the unincorporated area where she was killed when he was interviewed, according to police.

The suspect was booked into the Ventura County Pre-Trial Detention Facility on suspicion of murder.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Det. Chip Buttell at 805-385-7688 or Det. Michael McManama at 805-385-7662.

California News / Crime / Local News / Monterey County / Salinas / Top Stories / Video

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.

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