GILROY, Calif. (TCD) — A 31-year-old man faces a murder charge after his missing girlfriend’s remains were located and positively identified this week.
Alyssa Salazar was reported missing to the Gilroy Police Department on Aug. 10, and her family said they had not seen her since July. KTVU-TV reports her last known sighting was July 26 as she left a library in Salinas and got into her boyfriend’s Honda Accord.
On April 27, almost exactly three months prior to her disappearance, Salazar reportedly went to Gilroy Police and said her boyfriend, Iban Escobedo, assaulted and raped her. Police issued a warrant for his arrest. Around the same time, he allegedly contacted Salazar’s family and said he would kill them.
According to the Mercury News, Gilroy Police issued a warrant for Escobedo’s arrest in May, but he was not taken into custody until late August. Police conducted a traffic stop after seeing his Honda Accord, and while looking at the vehicle, officers reportedly noticed “red-brown stains on the front passenger door frame and front passenger seat foam.” They also discovered a 9 mm handgun in the vehicle.
Gilroy Police said detectives executed a search warrant on a property in unincorporated Santa Clara County and discovered human remains. The Santa Clara County Medical Examiner and the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Crime Laboratory positively identified the remains as Salazar’s.
The Mercury News reports Escobedo’s sister has ties to the property. A witness nearby reportedly told detectives they saw a “fire burn for several days in barrels next to the trailer in late July 2023.” They located a barrel with “burned human bones including pieces of rib, skull, and hand” inside. Detectives also reportedly found blood evidence in a bathtub.
Other witnesses allegedly told police Escobedo confessed to fatally shooting Salazar, dismembering her, and burning the remains.
Officials sent the remains to a crime lab for DNA testing, which came back as a match for Salazar. The medical examiner officially declared her deceased after that.
Investigators subsequently identified Escobedo, who was already in custody, as their primary suspect. He is now being charged with murder.