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Man arrested for wife's death in July now charged with murder

Yolanda Jaimes was reported missing on June 24. On July 1, police announced that her remains had been found on June 28.

AUSTIN, Texas — A man previously arrested in connection with his wife's death over the summer has now been charged with her murder.

Yolanda Jaimes went missing on June 24 from the 7000 block of Craybrough Circle. Law enforcement suspected foul play following their investigation of the scene, which included a "significant amount of blood that had been cleaned up" in her home, according to the Austin Police Department.

Heavily decomposed human remains identified as Jaimes' were discovered by law enforcement on June 28. The cause of her death was unknown at the time due to the greatly decomposed state of her remains, officials said.

Jaimes' husband, Jose Villa-Denova, was arrested and booked into the Travis County Jail on a charge of tampering with evidence. But, according to court documents dated Dec. 8, he has since been charged with first-degree murder.

KVUE obtained the original arrest affidavit for Villa-Denova back in July, which provided more information about the circumstances leading to his arrest, including reports that they had been discussing getting a divorce.

Credit: Austin Police Department

According to the affidavit, when an officer arrived at the residence on June 24 to question Villa-Denova about his wife's disappearance, Villa-Denova reported that there was nothing out of the ordinary about the morning and he didn't think Jaimes would go anywhere other than work.

While speaking to Villa-Denova, the affidavit states that the officer noticed a bright red smear on the bathroom door that he believed to be blood. The officer then noticed droplets of what appeared to be blood on the floor. During a consensual interview with the APD's Missing Persons Unit, Villa-Denova later told officers that his 8-year-old son suffers from nosebleeds and the nosebleeds were the source of the blood.

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The affidavit also states that Villa-Denova had previously told his and Jaimes' daughter that he had contacted the car dealership where Jaimes' bought her car to request the GPS location on it. Villa-Denova told his daughter where the dealership reportedly told him the car was, and she found the car at that location. 

However, officers later contacted the dealership and were informed that Jaimes' car did not have such a GPS device installed and that none of the dealership's employees had spoken with Villa-Denova, nor would they have been able to access any GPS tracking data if Jaimes' car did have a GPS. The affidavit states that this led police to deduce that Villa-Denova "must have actually known the location of his missing wife's vehicle."

The affidavit states that an APD detective obtained a search warrant for the home of Villa-Denova and Jaimes, which was executed on June 25. Crime scene personnel used forensic technology to detect apparent blood spatter not otherwise visible to the naked eye. A large amount of apparent blood was discovered on the toilet, on the ledge of the shower and in the bathroom sink drain of the master bathroom, as well as other areas of the bathroom. A bucket containing water and a sponge were found inside the shower.

Blood also appeared "smeared as though it was wiped during a cleanup process" on the hallway walls and there appeared to have been a large pool of blood on the hallway floor, according to the affidavit. More apparent blood was found between the bathroom and the backdoor, throughout the hallway and on the back porch, where a mop bucket, a wet mop and an empty bottle of bleach were also found. "A large white stain, consistent with bleach," was also observed on the driveway behind where Jaimes' car was parked.

Based on the evidence, police determined that Jaimes' disappearance was "not voluntary" and that she was potentially injured or dead.

The affidavit states that "based on the totality of circumstances," Villa-Denova is believed by police to have committed the third-degree felony of tampering with evidence on or about June 23 to 24 by cleaning up blood evidence within the crime scene related to Jaimes' disappearance, moving Jaimes' vehicle and disposing of her cellphone.

In October, the medical examiner's report noted that the woman's death was indeed suspicious but a specific cause of death was not identified due to advanced decomposition and "animal predation." Toxicology results were also negative, ruling out alcohol, medication or narcotics. No life-threatening diseases could be detected either.

Credit: Austin Police Department
Yolanda Jaimes

On Dec. 1, investigators conducted a follow-up interview with the couple's daughter in relation to a 2015 domestic disturbance call in which she had spoken to police. She stated that she clearly remembered this incident and recalled her father telling her to lie to the police after he allegedly assaulted his wife. The daughter also reported that there had been at least one other alleged assault several weeks prior to her mother's death.

Based on the additional investigation, police believe Villa-Denova developed a plan to lure his wife to an isolated location near his worksite. Her remains were later located unclothed and concealed from view. Police also noted that it is believed her clothes were burned.

The additional murder charge was later filed after investigators developed information – such as cellular data and witness statements – leading them to believe that Villa-Denova held personal knowledge of her disappearance and the location of her vehicle without this information being provided to him. They noted that he also made several false statements to his children and police throughout the investigation.

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