Remains Found in Septic Tank Belong to Woman, 21, Missing for More Than 10 Years
The Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office in Texas identified the victim as Leona Johnson, who vanished in 2004.
A Texas missing persons case has closed more than 10 years after a young woman seemed to vanish without a trace.
Leona Johnson was a 21-year-old mother when she disappeared in 2004, leaving behind her 3-year-old son.
Over the summer, Hidalgo County Sheriff's officials say maintenance on a septic tank uncovered what turned out to be human remains along with a woman's boot.
DNA testing, using samples from Johnson's now 16-year-old son, confirmed the remains were hers.
Throughout the course of their investigation, Sheriff’s investigators identified the property owner, 40-year-old Aristeo Cervantes Jr., as the suspect in her death.
KRGV reports that it was Cervantes' daughter and her boyfriend who made the startling discovery in July.
Cervantes is serving a 12-year sentence in a Texas prison facility for stabbing his wife at the same Weslaco home in 2015.
According to police, Cervantes confessed during questioning to murdering a woman and placing her body in his septic tank years earlier.
Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said Cervantes lured Johnson into his car with drugs and then stabbed her to death.
An autopsy performed on the skeletal remains provided the cause of death as stabbing with a sharp object — injuries that appeared consistent with Cervantes’ confession.
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