SALT LAKE CITY – A judge in Salt Lake City declined to lift a no-bail order Tuesday for a man accused of helping to dispose of a 25-year-old Kearns woman's body in February.
Third District Judge Patrick Corum said it's clear Cristian Noe Morales-Gonzales failed to appear in court in prior criminal cases and is a flight risk. However, Corum said he didn't find there's clear and convincing evidence Morales Gonzales is a danger to the community.
The 26-year-old man hasn't yet entered pleas to obstructing justice, a first-degree felony; and abuse or desecration of a human body, a third-degree felony. He is one of six people prosecutors have formally charged after linking them to the disappearance or death of Conzuelo "Nicole" Solorio-Romero, 25.
Solorio was taken from her home at gunpoint or at knifepoint on Feb. 6, police said, by two men now facing charges of aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, in her death. Prosecutors say Orlando Esiesa Tobar, 29, instructed Jorge Rafael Medina-Reyes, 21, to shoot her because "she knew too much."
Almost a month later, on April 2, authorities in Salt Lake County announced they had recovered her remains.
Witnesses told detectives they saw her body wrapped in black plastic garbage bags being loaded into the back of a landscape trailer attached to a white pickup truck, court documents say.
Deputy Salt Lake County District Attorney Morgan Vedejs argued Tuesday that surveillance footage from a gas station shows Gonzales buying gas for the truck. She said he then helped Tobar dispose of the body on the side of a highway.
Vedejs said the Solorio's family has also asked Gonzales be held as he awaits trial.
Defense attorney Daniel Irvin said the evidence against his client is too thin for him to be held without the possibility of bail and Gonzales isn't clearly identified in photos that prosecutors presented as evidence.
Irvin argued Gonzales didn't flee after new coverage of the case began airing, but instead kept going to his job at an auto shop and met officers at the door when they arrived to speak with him.
He returns to court May 28 for a scheduling conference.