(NewsNation Now) — For years, Larry and Maya Millete lived in California’s Chula Vista neighborhood with their three young kids, seemingly a typical suburban family.
But now, it’s been over a year since she was last seen and he’s been charged with her murder.
Maya Millete, who goes by May, went missing Jan. 7, 2021, and her family is relentlessly pushing to find answers.
Millete is 39 years old. She is a mom of three. She also has a sister, Maricris Drouaillet.
Just this week, at a prayer vigil marking one year since Millete’s disappearance, it was the solo voice of Drouaillet that was heard, as the sisters will likely never sing together again.
“It’s been a nightmare, for everyone,” Drouaillet said. “Not just me, my husband, but friends and family, there’s a big family.”
Drouaillet said their large family feared the worst from the start and some relatives raced to Chula Vista as soon as they heard Millete was missing.
“When we went to their house the first time, we stayed overnight and we went back home, and we already had a feeling that he might have something to do with my sister’s disappearance,” Drouaillet said. “And at that time, my heart already shattered.”
The story on the search for Millete is part of “Missing in America,” which brings attention to missing-person stories that fall under the radar of other news outlets.
Many of the “Missing” cases are brought to NewsNation from viewers, and that was the situation with Millete’s case.
But Millete’s case is unique because her husband was arrested and charged with her killing, even though there is no evidence of murder — and no body.
Larry Millette was arrested in a San Diego suburb after a high-profile investigation nine months after her disappearance. He was charged with murdering Millete and illegal possession of an assault weapon.
Police do have a lot of circumstantial evidence, which is what led to his arrest. He was also the only person of interest named by police in the case.
The District Attorney’s Office said Maya was trying to leave her husband and that a year ago, around this date, she had an appointment to meet with a divorce attorney.
Millete’s disappearance happened the same day she called the divorce attorney.
During a large family camping trip the week before, Millete mentioned her divorce plan to a few relatives, along with an ominous comment, “If anything happened to me, it’ll be Larry.”
“She wanted to warn us to just get ready,” Drouaillet said. “It’s going to be a messy divorce.”
Relatives insist Millete loved being a mother and would never just abandon her kids.
Her husband told police that Millete voluntarily left the family.
Her husband has said that he had nothing to do with her disappearance and denies that he murdered her. From jail, he said she is still alive and out there somewhere.
Court documents reveal Larry’s increasingly desperate and paranoid behavior in 2020.
He had even emailed a so-called spellcaster, seeking a hex to “make her realize that we are meant to be with each other. Make her miserable without me.”
“He was asking for May to become incapacitated, for May to be in an accident, to have broken bones so that she could stay at home,” San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said.
In announcing the case, Stephan revealed other spells Larry had sought, saying Millete was in a “toxic relationship.”
NewsNation did speak to his defense attorney, who said people should not jump to conclusions about the case.
According to court documents, the morning after Millete was last seen, a neighbor’s surveillance camera recorded Larry repositioning the family’s black Lexus SUV in the garage, apparently to load the back end.
Then he was away for more than 11 hours, leaving his cellphone at the house.
“Where could he have possibly gone?” asked #TeamMaya search volunteer Annette Vasquez. “What could he do in 11 and a half hours? We just get out there, we look at hills, lakes, cliffs, streams. Where could Maya be?”
Many of the search volunteers have become family and #TeamMaya vows to keep up their weekly searches. They want closure and a conviction.
“It’s painful, it’s sad, it’s heartbreaking,” Drouaillet said. “The thing that she is gone, but she’s not gone, gone, like. It’s just different.”
#TeamMaya and law enforcement are pleading for the public’s help — particularly seeking information on sightings of the Millete’s Lexus SUV on Jan. 8, 2021.
The black GX640 has a California specialty plate displaying “maylani.”
#TeamMaya is asking for information from “anybody that knows anything, no matter how insignificant they think it might be.”
“It may be the piece we’re looking for to tie everything together so that we can bring her home,” #TeamMaya volunteer Keri Park said.