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6th arrestee in Kearns killing accused of helping dispose of kidnapped woman's body

(Unified Police Department)



Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

KEARNS — A sixth person has now been arrested in the complicated case involving the kidnapping and killing of a Kearns woman whose body remains missing.

Unified police arrested Cristian Noe Morales-Gonzales, 26, Thursday and booked him into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of obstruction of justice. Police say he was called "the mechanic" and he is accused of helping to dispose of the body of Conzuelo "Nicole" Solorio-Romero, 25.

His arrest occurred on the same day that numerous police officers from several agencies — including Unified police — were spotted by witnesses in Tooele County south of the Tooele Army Depot along state Route 73. Witnesses told the Deseret News that tents were set up and an area sectioned off with yellow police tape.

Unified police on Friday referred all inquiries about their Tooele County activities to the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office. A spokesman for the district attorney said the officers in Tooele County were part of an ongoing investigation and declined to say which case, only confirming that it's a case in which charges have already been filed.

On Feb. 23, Orlando Esiesa Tobar, 29, from Honduras, and Jorge Rafael Medina-Reyes, 21, were charged with aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping and obstructing justice, all first-degree felonies. In a case with lots of nicknames, Tobar is known as "Chaparro" and Medina-Reyes goes by the moniker "the Venezuelan."

Police say Solorio-Romero was forcibly taken from her home, 5133 W. 5400 South, at gunpoint or at knifepoint on Feb. 6. From there, she was taken to a studio apartment in West Valley City at 1136 W. Elba Ave., and shot in the head, according police.

"One witness stated the victim was loaded into the back of Chaparro's vehicle and she was never seen again. One witness stated he received a call from Chaparro stating the victim didn't die from the initial shot and had to shoot her again," a police affidavit states.

After the shooting, the group went to Tacos Mi Caramelo, 1808 W. 3500 South in West Valley City, to talk about what to do next, according to police. While there, Tobar called someone known as "the mechanic" to "come assist him with disposing of Nicole's body," a new police affidavit states.

Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera speaks at a press
conference at the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office in South Salt
Lake on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, where it was announced two people
were arrested night in connection with the disappearance and death
of 25-year-old Conzuelo "Nicole” Solorio-Romero.
Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera speaks at a press conference at the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office in South Salt Lake on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, where it was announced two people were arrested night in connection with the disappearance and death of 25-year-old Conzuelo "Nicole” Solorio-Romero. (Photo: Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera speaks at a press conference at the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office in South Salt Lake on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, where it was announced two people were arrested night in connection with the disappearance and death of 25-year-old Conzuelo "Nicole” Solorio-Romero.)

Police say Morales-Gonzales was later identified as "the mechanic." He went back to the apartment with Tobar, and later Tobar and Morales-Gonzales "left in a white truck with a trailer to go get rid of Nicole's body," according to the affidavit.

Tobar left the restaurant in a red Mitsubishi Eclipse, according to surveillance video seized by police. On Thursday, the Mitsubishi was found at 4861 S. 4055 West. Police say Morales-Gonzales was also found there and was arrested.

Police have requested he be held without bail, noting that he is originally from Honduras and still has family there and may flee the country if he is released on bail.

On Tuesday, Carolina Marquez, 38, and Fernando Marquez, 22, a mother and son, were also arrested for investigation of murder, obstruction of justice and kidnapping in connection with Solorio-Romero's death. Ivan Jesus Acosta, 27, was arrested for investigation of kidnapping and obstruction of justice.

Carolina Marquez is the owner of Tacos Mi Caramelo.

A confidential informant told police that Carolina Marquez has been telling people that her adult son was "set up by someone and is now in jail," according to a police affidavit. On the day Solorio-Romero was kidnapped, Carolina Marquez was allegedly overhead on the phone "telling someone to take all of Nicole's things out."

A relative told police that she was on the phone with Solorio-Romero when she said Fernando Marquez "and two other males were threatening her (Solorio-Romero) with guns. This was the last contact (the relative) had with Nicole," the affidavit says.

A few hours later, the relative called Fernando Marquez — who was Solorio-Romero's landlord — and was heard pleading, "Give us Nicole back, we just want Nicole back," according to the affidavit.

Charging documents state that Tobar shot Solorio-Romero because she allegedly "knew too much."

In an unrelated kidnapping case in November 2019, two people were charged with kidnapping Marquez days after she fired them from the Mexican restaurant.

Abigail Santillan, 27, of West Valley City, and Heriberto Marquez Rivera, 30, of Bountiful were originally charged in 3rd District Court with kidnapping, a second-degree felony. Both men pleaded guilty last year to a much lesser charge of disorderly conduct, a class C misdemeanor.

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