Authorities believe a former Marine from Oceanside killed a 16-year-old Central Valley girl he met online last year and left her body in a field, and they’re now searching for other girls across the state he contacted on social media.
Codi Slayton, 19, appeared in a Madera courtroom Tuesday to face a first-degree murder charge in the death of Josephine Jimenez, according to KTLA sister station KGPE in Fresno.
Jimenez was found dead Oct. 22, on an agricultural property in southern Madera County. Her body was in poor condition and dental records had to be used to positively identify her body, Sheriff Jay Varney told KGPE.
“To find (a case) like this, where someone with very little or no runaway history ends up deceased, it’s very unusual,” Varney said.
Jimenez’s parents told KGPE they last saw their daughter when she left their Madera home Oct. 13, a Sunday.
“Her intentions were to be at school Monday,” said Raymond Jimenez, the victim’s father. “So, when she left that Sunday her intentions were to come back home. Her intentions were not to go out and not come back.”
Sheriff’s detectives had been investigating for weeks when they were contacted by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in December. NCIS had been investigating Slayton in an unrelated matter and determined he may be connected to Jimenez’s killing, the Sheriff’s Department said.
After interviewing Slayton in Oceanside and conducting follow-up investigation, sheriff’s detectives decided to arrest him.
Slayton had been detained by NCIS on unrelated charges but was transferred to Madera County last Thursday to be booked on suspicion of murder. Contacted for comment on what their case involves, an NCIS spokesperson said the agency doesn’t comment on ongoing investigations.
However, deputies say the investigation uncovered evidence that Slayton used various social media apps to meet and communicate with young girls throughout California, including Jimenez. He may have corresponded with girls in other regions, too, officials said.
Slayton, who was formerly assigned to the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, remained in custody Tuesday on $5 million bond.
Anyone who may have communicated online with Slayton can contact sheriff’s Cpl. Noland at 559-232-8753 or Detective Gutierrez at 559-514-5869. Tips may also be emailed to email@example.com, or submitted through an anonymous tip line at 559-498-7867.