CHULA VISTA, Calif. (NewsNation Now) — A Southern California man was arrested on suspicion of killing his wife, the mother their three children, nine months ago, and her family pleaded for help in finding her body.
Larry Millete, 40, was arrested Tuesday at his home in the San Diego suburb of Chula Vista, a day after prosecutors charged him with murder and illegal possession of an assault weapon, officials said. He could face a potential sentence of life in prison if convicted of killing his wife, Maya Millete.
Maya Millete, 40, vanished in early January, authorities said. She left her mobile phone and other valuables along with the couple’s three children, authorities said.
District Attorney Summer Stephan said Maya Millete was in a “toxic relationship” and that her last known call before she vanished on Jan. 7 was to a divorce attorney.
Larry Millete told police that his wife voluntarily left the family. He was the only person of interest named by police in the case.
Her sister made a tearful plea to the public asking for help in finding her sister’s body.
“This is still not the end,” said Maricris Drouaillet. “We have a long way to go. We are still asking the public to please help us bring my sister home.”
Drouaillett said finding Maya Millete’s body is necessary to prove to her daughters, aged 4, 9 and 11, that their mother didn’t abandon them.
Stephan said prosecutors can file a murder charge without having a body given other evidence.
Before Maya Millette disappeared, her husband opposed divorcing and hired “spellcasters” to keep her from leaving, Stephan said.
“He was asking for May to become incapacitated … so that she could stay at home, thus displaying his homicidal idealizations to harm May,” Stephan said.
Also missing were a gun owned by Millete and a black Lexus SUV that prosecutors believe he used to dispose of his wife’s body, authorities said.
The investigation included more than 67 search warrants, 87 interviews and review and investigation of more than 130 tips, Chula Vista Police Chief Roxana Kennedy said.
In addition to police and the District Attorney’s Office, the investigation also involved the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, police said.
NewsNation affiliate KSWB and the Associated Press contributed to this report.