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Detectives in Oklahoma said they are investigating the death of a teenager who disappeared in 2018 after her body was discovered in May wrapped in layers of plastic in the basement of a homeowner who says they had no idea that a corpse was decomposing in the cellar, police said.
The remains of Margarita "Maggie" Sandoval, who was 19 when she disappeared in 2018, was found inside a black box and wrapped up in “possibly 20-30 layers” of plastic after police in Norman received a tip, Det. Sean Judy said in a search warrant, according to Tulsa station KOTV.
The box was dripping with liquid, bugs were seen crawling out, and the smell of an “odor of decomposition” permeated the scene, the report says.
The Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office later determined that the remains belonged to Sandoval, a local young woman whose sister says had a mental disability and was being taken advantage of by opportunistic relatives for the government benefits being issued in her name.
“She was getting passed around,” Taylor Hearon, Sandoval’s sister, told KWTV. “I did believe that as soon as Maggie turned 18, no one saw her but as a big dollar sign. Everyone let her down.”
Before she disappeared three years ago, Sandoval was moved by authorities to a temporary safe space after she had phoned Norman police reporting that her caretakers, her brother and his wife, were abusive toward her, the station reported. At that point, her case was referred to Adult Protective Services.
The individual who is living at the residence where Sandoval’s remains were discovered, who has not been publicly identified, said they had moved into the house in 2019; they are reportedly fully cooperating with detectives.
A friend, who is related to Sandoval, had asked to use the basement of the home as storage, the homeowner said, according to the police report. That friend and relative of Sandoval was living at the same address where she was receiving her social security payments, the report states.
The relative's home was searched on May 14, police said. He was charged with an unrelated weapons charge, according to the report.
A call placed by Oxygen.com to the Norman Police Department on Monday was not immediately returned.
No suspects have been named by police in Sandoval’s killing. Investigators are currently following several leads in the case, they said.
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