A California mother of three was allegedly killed by her husband because she was a “witness to a crime” and was silenced so she’d be unable to testify, according to authorities.
The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office announced Saturday that they believed they had discovered the remains of 33-year-old Heather Gumina during a search Friday in the Pleasant Valley area nearly two months after she disappeared.
Gumina’s husband, Anthony Gumina, was taken into custody on suspicion of domestic violence and first-degree murder the same day her remains were found, CBS News reports.
New details are now beginning to emerge about why authorities think the 33-year-old may have lost her life.
According to a criminal compliant obtained by local station KTXL, Heather Gumina was killed because of what she had witnessed before her death.
“Heather Gumina was a witness to a crime and was intentionally killed to prevent her from testifying in a criminal proceeding,” the complaint said.
The complaint did not provide any specifics about what she may have seen; however, Anthony Gumina has a history of alleged violence.
In January, he was charged after physically attacking his wife while she held her 4-year-old son. In that attack, he allegedly head-butted her and tackled her to the ground, then kicked in doors and removed phones from her in an attempt to prevent her for calling for help.
He was also charged with breaking her collar bone shortly before she disappeared. Heather Gumina was last seen alive on July 16 after leaving the hospital for the collar bone injury; her vehicle was discovered abandoned about a month after she disappeared.
Anthony Gumina arrived in court Tuesday for his first court appearance since his arrest. He appeared to be emotional during the brief appearance, in which his attorney asked for his arraignment to be moved to Sept. 24.
Despite the pending charges against him, Anthony Gumina’s family continues to insist he is innocent.
“The truth will come out. It will come out. Tony is not the murderer, he’s not,” his cousin Robert Shawaluck told KOVR.
Shawaluck went on to say that domestic violence was a “far away crime” from murder.
“Did they have a rough marriage? Yes. Did he love her? Yes, very much so,” he said.
Those who knew Heather Gumina are now trying to come to grips with her death.
“I never would imagine this,” family friend Jeanette Waldo told KOVR. “It’s not something you ever want to go through, it’s just horrible.”
Another woman, who identified herself only as a friend of the couple, attended Tuesday’s court hearing in support of the friend she lost.
“Whether or not he did it, I’m going to be here for support for her because she was a loving soul and she’s gone. Nobody can bring her back,” the friend said according to KTXL.
Heather Gumina leaves behind three children, ages 4, 10 and 14. Anthony Gumina is reportedly not the father of any of the children.
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