Garden Grove Couple Who Vanished in Tijuana Found Dead; Son-in-Law Charged

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Maria Lopez and Jesus Guillen appear in photos released by the Garden Grove Police Department on Jan. 14, 2020.

Maria Lopez and Jesus Guillen appear in photos released by the Garden Grove Police Department on Jan. 14, 2020.

A United States couple missing for a week in Tijuana were found Friday buried on the property of one of their homes in this border city, Mexican authorities said.

Baja California state prosecutor Hirán Sánchez said the bodies of María Teresa López, 65, and 70-year-old husband, Jesús Rubén López, were discovered with the help of cadaver dogs.

Authorities said that they arrested the couple’s son-in-law and that the preliminary investigation suggested the motive was a monetary dispute over rent payments.

The couple, who were naturalized U.S. citizens living in Garden Grove, California, had crossed the border to Tijuana on Jan. 10 to collect some $6,400 (120,000 pesos) in rent from apartments they owned in the city, Sánchez said.

Their daughter, Norma López, who lived with them in California, reported them missing the following day.

Her husband, identified only as Santiago, lives in Tijuana and told investigators he had met the couple at the border and returned them there several hours later, but there were inconsistencies in his story, Sánchez said.

On Friday morning, investigators from the prosecutor’s office found the bodies buried behind one of their properties. They showed signs of violence, the prosecutor said.

Sánchez said the son-in-law had already been charged with disappearance of people and would now be charged with murder. He said the man had a criminal record in the U.S. and was deported in 2012.

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