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Couple Charged With Killing Disabled Woman Allegedly Believed Victim Was Haunting Them
Octavio and Desiree Sanchez are accused of murdering Margarita Sandoval in 2018 and moving her body around their residence "due to the smell" while allegedly collecting the victim's disability and stimulus checks.
A married couple in Oklahoma is under arrest after they allegedly killed a woman and stored her body in their basement.
Octavio Sanchez, 35, and Desiree Sanchez, 27, were charged with first-degree murder and unauthorized removal of a dead body on Thursday following a 14-month investigation, according to the Norman Police Department. Both are accused of murdering a relative in 2018 and hiding her body in the basement of their Norman, Oklahoma residence.
The victim was later identified as Margarita Juanita “Maggie” Sandoval, the 18- or 19-year-old younger sister of Mr. Sanchez, according to an affidavit obtained by The Oklahoman. Sandoval reportedly lived with cognitive impairments and resided in a California group home shortly before moving in with her brother in January 2018.
“Several months later, other family members began to look for the victim after not hearing from her,” police stated. “Throughout the interviews and investigation, it was determined that both individuals played a role in her death.”
A postmortem examination was concluded on July 6 and ruled Sandoval’s death as a homicide, though a cause of death could not be determined. Authorities believe she was murdered sometime between Feb. 17 and April 18, 2018.
The investigation began on May 13, 2021, when officials received a report of a body at the W. Lindsey Street residence, according to police. Upon arrival, they found Sandoval’s decomposing body “wrapped up in a plastic-wrapped box in the basement of the residence.”
Mr. and Mrs. Sanchez allegedly gave conflicting accounts in the months following Sandoval’s disappearance, according to the affidavit. In 2018, Mrs. Sanchez reportedly told the Department of Human Services that Sandoval left to take out the trash and was never seen again.
Officials say, however, that the couple continued to spend Sandoval’s social security checks and stimulus payments in the years following her disappearance.
Miguel Munoz, the owner of the home, told authorities he helped the couple move a body into the basement in June 2019, not knowing it was Sandoval, according to the Oklahoma outlet.
“Munoz informed investigators … that Octavio stated he and his wife, Desiree, killed a child molester,” the affidavit stated. “Munoz quoted Octavio as saying, ‘Desiree started it, and I had to finish it.’”
Oxygen.com reached out to the Norman Police Department to inquire whether or not Munoz was charged in connection with the case but did not receive an immediate response.
Per the affidavit, investigators obtained a search warrant and sifted through Mr. and Mrs. Sanchez’s Facebook messages, in which both allegedly made multiple statements about the dead body.
In one message, they allegedly discussed moving Sandoval’s body to different parts of the house “due to the smell,” according to the affidavit.
Messages also revealed that both suspects believed “Margarita was haunting them,” according to The Oklahoman.
“In one conversation, Octavio tells Desiree that Margarita was not letting him get to his phone to contact her,” the affidavit stated. “Desiree replied … that Margarita is only messing with him because she was not there. Desiree confirmed with Octavio that Margarita was haunting her, too.
“Desiree told Octavio that Margarita knows what she did, and that is why she is haunting them.”
Following an investigation by the Norman Police Department’s Criminal Investigations and Special Investigations units, authorities arrested Mrs. Sanchez on Thursday, according to police. Mr. Sanchez was also charged but was already incarcerated in a different county for unrelated charges of illegal firearm possession.
Mr. Sanchez has a previous felony conviction in the state of Arkansas, according to The Oklahoman.