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An Arizona man and his brother have been arrested after police say they discovered the man’s missing 17-year-old girlfriend decomposing in a plastic tub in his car.
A grand jury has indicted Daniel Blas Torrealba, 21, and his brother, Edwin Humberto Chavez-Blas, 19, for abandonment/concealment of a dead body and tampering with physical evidence after police made the grisly discovery while searching for missing teen mom, Destiny Munoz, People reports.
Torrealba’s family called police to report the 17-year-old missing on Oct. 5 after they hadn’t seen her for about 10 days, according to local station KPNX .
After receiving the report, Phoenix police went to the couple’s home to conduct a welfare check and found a large plastic tote containing the teen’s remains in Torrealba’s vehicle after noticing a strong odor of “decomposing matter,” according to court documents obtained by The Arizona Republic.
A medical examiner would later determine that Munoz—who shared a 1-year-old child with Torrealba—had died of a gunshot wound.
Inside the home, investigators discovered blood splatter in one of the rooms and noted that all of the furniture had been removed.
They also recovered a 9mm handgun, chainsaw, gloves, duct tape and a Home Depot receipt inside the truck.
Investigators believe that Torrealba enlisted the help of his brother to clean up the crime scene and planned to “cut apart [her] body and bury her” in attempt to get rid of the body, according to a probable cause statement obtained by People.
“Edwin purchased a chainsaw online with the intention of using it to dismember [Munoz], but the police became involved before that part of the plan could go into effect,” authorities wrote.
After the body was discovered, Torrealba allegedly told police that Munoz died after she shot herself in the face during an argument about their relationship.
“When Destiny picked up and pointed the gun at her face, Daniel reached out to try to get the weapon away from her and the gun fired,” the statement said.
He told authorities that Munoz had threatened to kill herself before and that on the day of the fatal confrontation he told her to “go ahead and do it,” KPNX reports.
Torrealba told police that he decided to cover up what happened “because he was afraid he would get in trouble” for having a firearm as a convicted felon.
At the time of the shooting, he had been on federal probation for a felony conviction for transporting illegal aliens for profit, according to the local news station.
Torrealba tried to clean up the scene of the crime and cleaned his slain girlfriend’s face and hands, police said.
"He said he did not tell anybody what happened and he kept Destiny in the plastic container because he wanted to remain close to her,” the court documents allege.
Investigators said he told varying stories to his family about what happened to Munoz and used her phone to send messages to her family, posing as her “so that they would not worry about her,” according to the court documents.
The brothers are both expected to appear in court on Thursday for an arraignment.
“We are confident of his innocence and we think when all the evidence is revealed it will support that,” Torrealba’s attorney David Le Lievre told People of the allegations against him.
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