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Human remains identified as missing mother last seen in 2018, authorities say

Authorities report the body of missing mother Rita Gutierrez-Garcia has been found in Colorado.
Authorities report the body of missing mother Rita Gutierrez-Garcia has been found in Colorado.(Longmont police)
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 8:19 PM MDT
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LONGMONT, Colo. (KKTV/Gray News) - Authorities in Colorado updated their investigation into the disappearance of a woman in 2018.

Rita Gutierrez-Garcia was last seen alive by friends in Longmont on March 18, 2018. Juan Figueroa Jr. was identified by law enforcement as a suspect early in their investigation, as reported by KKTV.

In June 2021, Figueroa Jr. was charged with the murder and kidnapping of Gutierrez-Garcia, without her body being found.

Following new information presented to investigators, authorities said they searched an area in Weld County, east of Longmont, on April 28. Human remains were recovered in that area.

On Thursday, the remains were identified as Gutierrez-Garcia through DNA analysis, according to authorities.

“The investigation into Rita’s disappearance and cold-case homicide involved a multi-state investigation, dozens of interviews and search warrants,” authorities wrote in a news release.

The 20th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and Longmont Police Services reportedly said they were grateful to bring Gutierrez-Garcia home to her family.

Gutierrez-Garcia was a mother of three, according to officials.

Authorities said Figueroa Jr. was also sentenced for a different attack involving another woman. His next court date is scheduled for June 3.

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