Murders A-Z is a collection of true crime stories that take an in-depth look at both little-known and famous murders throughout history.
Exondia Salado (née Jayenida Link) was born in Florida, in 1971. She grew up in Chicago. Her family was poor, but Exondia was a brilliant, straight A-student.
After graduating from high school, Exondia left home. By age 20, she was living in California and married to her first husband. They had two children together, a daughter and a son. Soon after the couple’s son was born, they divorced.
At age 23, Exondia was a single mother of two. To support her family, Exondia enlisted in the Navy, where she became an avionics technician. Exondia excelled in her career, but was also always there for her children.
Exondia meets Manny Salado
Manuel “Manny” Salado was from the Dominican Republic, and he also served in the US Navy. Exondia met him one night at a club, and they quickly fell in love.
When Manny’s job transferred him to Chicago, Exondia and her kids went with him. In 2002, Exondia and Manny had their first child together, a little girl.
On October 15, 2002, Exondia and Manny got married. Exondia became a stay-at-home mom, and Manny remained in the Navy on active duty. Meanwhile, Exondia started her own business making websites for other people. She took control of the household, handling most of the parenting and the finances, dictating what Manny could spend.
The marriage sours
After a few years, friction developed between Exondia and Manny. The Navy transferred Manny to Oklahoma City in 2006, and Exondia saw it as an opportunity to work on the marriage. So, she sent her two older children to live with their grandparents in Florida, and she, Manny and their 5-year-old daughter went to Oklahoma. Exondia even already had a friend in Oklahoma City, April Stubbs.
When Manny’s enlistment finally ended, he left the Navy and worked as a temp. The temp work wasn’t steady, so the couple started having money troubles. Manny joined the Army Reserves to make some money, but Exondia wasn’t happy, as it wasn’t a well-paid line of work. Also, money problems weren't the only thing upsetting Exondia. She also believed Manny was cheating on her.
In the spring of 2007, Manny went to the Dominican Republic for his brother’s wedding—and because he went alone, Exondia became suspicious. Using her Navy computer training, Exondia installed spyware on Manny’s computer. She discovered Manny was having a long-distance relationship with another woman. Exondia also found emails between Manny and a divorce lawyer.
Accordig to Oxygen's "Snapped," Exondia was furious. On Friday, October 11, 2007, April helped Exondia pack up the apartment. Then Exondia told April she was going to Home Depot to pick up some equipment, but Exondia never returned from the errand. Sunday and Monday came and went with no sign or word from Exondia.
Where was Exondia?
Three days after she first left, Exondia came back. When she returned, she was wearing Army fatigues, a t-shirt and boots covered in mud. She smelled awful. Exondia wouldn’t give April a straight answer about where she’d been. Exondia seemed preoccupied and told April she needed to wash her car.
April continued to press Exondia for answers. Finally, Exondia allegedly told April she’d killed Manny. She said she’d shot him twice in the chest and burned his body in the countryside, according to "Snapped." April shrugged it off as a joke, not believing Exondia was telling the truth.
Because Exondia was acting so strangely, on October 16, 2007, April went to the police. She told police that Exondia said she killed Manny, and that she’d kept his body in the closet for two days before dumping it.
The police immediately visited Exondia and Manny’s apartment that night to find Exondia home alone. Exondia allegedly told police Manny was gone, that she hadn’t seen him in a few days and she idn’t know when he would be back. She said Manny had run off with another woman.
Exondia told the police Manny had taken his cell phone with him, and she gave them his number to call. The police asked her about what April had told them, and Exondia denied it.
Police tried to call Manny several times, and when there was no answer they returned to the apartment with a search warrant. The apartment was messy, and there was trash everywhere. Despite the mess, there was no sign of a murder. What police did find, however, was Manny’s cell phone.
Where was Manny Salado?
Police found more of Manny’s personal effects at the apartment, including his driver’s license and military ID card. They also found a box of .38-caliber bullets, with six bullets missing. They seized all of this as well as Exondia’s computers and electronic devices.
The police searched Exondia’s minivan, which reportedly smelled like cleaning chemicals. In the back of the van, they found a large blood stain. However, there was still no body, and no evidence that Exondia had actually killed her husband. Police impounded the van for further investigation and lifted DNA from the blood stain.
On October 18, 2007, after one week had passed since Exondia allegedly told April she’d killed Manny, there was no still activity on Manny’s credit cards, and he hadn’t reported for his military duty. Meanwhile, Exondia and her 5-year-old daughter left town and went to Florida.
Police discovered that before Manny disappeared, he’d spoken to a man named Rico del Rosario, a former co-worker, via his cell phone call log.
Rico told police that on October 8, Manny called him. Manny had asked Rico to come and meet him, and when Rico arrived, Manny told him he needed a place to stay because he thought his wife was trying to kill him.
According to NewsOK, Rico recalled in court, "He said that he thinks his wife is trying to kill him. [...] He was shaking. He had tears in his eyes. He was thinking about leaving her, and he thought she found out."
Manny then took a phone call from Exondia, spoke to her for a few minutes and left. Meanwhile, DNA results from the blood in the van came back. It was Manny’s blood.
Did Exondia kill Manny?
The police were still investigating Exondia’s computers. Since July 2007, Exondia had been Googling terms like “spousal murder” and “how to kill your spouse.” On October 8 — the day Manny told Rico he was scared for his life — Exondia’s searches intensified.
She had been Googling terms like “cannibalism”, “cooking people” and “cannibalism recipes,” according to "Snapped." Other Google searches on her computer, made on August 28, 2007, included “easy murder,” “murder methods,” “quick kill,” “strangulation,” “execution methods,” “human torture methods” and “human castration,” reported NewsOK. One article she saved was called “Butchering the Human Carcass for Human Consumption.”
A detective told "Snapped," “She used the computer to search for pig roasting, barbecuing a full-size pig in an open pit.”
Exondia had even downloaded instructions on how to build the pit, and a few days after Manny disappeared, she had purchased items needed to build it from Home Depot.
Exondia’s Google Maps searches also revealed she was looking for secluded places. Police honed in on a 6-square-mile area in rural Oklahoma County. Investigators scoured the area, but were still unable to find a body.
Regardless, Exondia was charged with Manny’s murder on December 16, 2008, according to "Snapped."
Was Exondia guilty?
Exondia’s trial began on March 22, 2011. Exondia was 39 years old. Manny had been missing for more than two-and-a-half years, and there was still no body.
The prosecution argued that Exondia killed Manny, and then burned the body in the countryside. Her daughter told Snapped, “It was just disgusting some of the stuff they were saying. I couldn’t believe it.”
In court, Exondia appeared professional, dressed in a suit and glasses.
Prosecutor Scott Rowland told "Snapped," “I don’t know if there any such thing as what a murderer is supposed to look like, but she didn’t look like it.”
The defense argued that the prosecution's story was just too far-fetched to be true. They said that Manny left in order to go back to the DR and start life anew with his girlfriend there.
As there was no blood in the house, the defense argued Exondia couldn’t have killed Manny there, as the prosecution argued, especially as there was no way she could have hauled his 200-pound body around (she was only 5’6”, 125 pounds).
Exondia didn’t take the stand.
On March 19, 2011, after deliberating for two-and-a-half hours, the jury reached their verdict: guilty of first-degree murder. Exondia did not appear surprised. She was sentenced to life without parole.
In 2012, the Oklahoma court of appeal upheld the conviction. At 40, Exondia Salado was serving life without possibility of parole. To this day, Manny’s body hasn’t been found.