Skeletal Remains Found In Septic Tank Is Now A Murder Investigation

HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas - The investigation of a woman's skeletal remains found in a septic tank is now a murder investigation.

Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said investigators got in touch with the homeowner. He is identified as 40-year-old Aristeo Garcia Cervantes and that is when they learned he may have been involved in the death of the woman.

Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said, "Investigators spoke with Cervantes, which at the time he confessed to murdering a female and placing her body in the septic tank of his home about 10-12 years ago. He did not know the woman's name. We believe the motive for the killing, they had a dispute. Mr. Cervantes and the victim were drug users at the time and they fought over drugs."

The sheriff said an autopsy was performed on the skeletal remains. He said she has yet to be identified. The county's forensic pathologist ruled the cause of death as homicide by stabbing with a sharp object. She also confirmed the injuries on the remains are consistent with Cervantes' confession. Cervantes is currently serving a 12 year sentence at a Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison facility for stabbing his wife during a violent episode.

Officials with the TDCJ told News Center 23 that Cervantes became eligible for parole in March 2017. But an arrest warrant has been issued for the murder. Investigators discovered the victim's remains about two weeks ago after the occupants found a woman's boot inside the septic tank.
 
Sheriff Guerra said, "The occupant was the daughter of Mr. Cervantes and her boyfriend. They were having problems with the septic tank."

Sheriff Guerra said they are working with a family member of a female who was reported missing around the same time the suspect claims to have committed the murder. The sheriff’s department is working with a private forensic lab to hopefully identify the remains as quickly as possible.

This investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office or the crime stoppers tip line at 956-668-TIPS (8477).


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