Maternity Test Identifies Remains of MS Man
Human remains belonging to Manuel Vasquez of the New Hope community in Lowndes County, Mississippi have been positively identified, according to a statement made by the coroner. “The remains were identified by DNA. It came back a 99.9 percent match. I’m very excited, because I was concerned with the quality of the specimen we presented. It was badly damaged from being burned,” Lowndes County Coroner Greg Merchant said.
Manuel was reported missing on July 14 by his mother, Mary Sanchez, who had not seen or heard from him since June 24. Human remains were found in a neighboring yard on July 21 in a container and burned before being spread about the nearby property. Authorities felt there was a 99% chance that the surviving bone fragments belonged to Manuel, so a postmortem DNA test was conducted using his mother’s DNA to confirm maternity. Cause of death could not be confirmed due to the charred state ofp the remains, however, authorities are classifying it as a homicide.
From Missing to Murder
After finding the remains, the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office were confident that he had been the victim of foul play. As a result, Manuel’s wife, Christina Vazquez, and his mother-in-law, Lydia Martinez, were arrested on July 22 in connection with his murder. Authorities believe that he was killed inside the Vazquez family home where the couple lived with their children. County court documents report that Lydia Martinez admitted to killing her son-in-law with the help of her daughter as well.
After murdering her husband and the father of her children, Christina posted a photo on Facebook of she, Manuel and their children shortly after he was reported missing with a caption saying, “This picture holds so many memories, we had such a great time together as a family. My heart aches not knowing where you are, I do believe you will be home soon and in my arms. We love and miss you.”
After the arrests of Christina and her mother, Manuel’s sister, Vanessa Marie Pena, sounded off on her sister-in-law’s post saying, “I have so many questions for you and your mom. A last conversation with yall (sic) is my prayer tonight. You and your sick mother gave him a sick way of going home…I pray you and your mother suffer for what you’ve done to the kids and to our family. I bet you thought we wouldn’t find out…but I knew you better than that.”
Christina Vasquez and Lydia Martinez have both been charged with the murder of Manuel and remain behind bars in the Lowndes County jail where they await a trial before a Mississippi grand jury in November.
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