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Ex-boyfriend with violent past killed Deltona woman, buried her, deputies say

Arrest solves homicide case; victim first reported missing in October 2016

Maria Marquez-Rivera, 40, (left) was found buried in a shallow grave in Ormond Beach in November 2016. Her ex-boyfriend, Orlando Cruz Romero, 49, (right) was recently charged with second-degree murder.
Maria Marquez-Rivera, 40, (left) was found buried in a shallow grave in Ormond Beach in November 2016. Her ex-boyfriend, Orlando Cruz Romero, 49, (right) was recently charged with second-degree murder.

ORMOND BEACH, Fla. – A man with a history of domestic violence toward the mother of his young son has been charged with killing her and burying her body in a shallow grave almost two years after she was last seen in Deltona, Volusia County Sheriff's Office officials said.

Maria Marquez-Rivera, 40, of Deltona, was reported missing by her daughter on Oct. 4, 2016. At the time, authorities thought she may have been with her ex-boyfriend Orlando Cruz Romero who had a history of abuse with the victim. Her skeletal remains were found buried in Ormond Beach more than a month later.

Deputies said second-degree murder charges have been filed against 49-year-old Cruz Romero who is currently in jail on identity theft charges. The suspect also served time for homicide. At the time of Marquez-Rivera's death he was wanted for violating his probation, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Investigators believe Cruz-Romero killed Marquez-Rivera sometime after 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 3, 2016, while their 3-year-old son was also at the Deltona home on Daroca Drive. Detectives said the boy was taken to a relative's home before Cruz-Romero buried the victim in a shallow grave in a wooded area off I-95 in Ormond Beach.

About two weeks after Marquez-River's disappearance detectives tracked her ex-boyfriend to Detroit with the victim's Chevrolet Impala. They found the victim's DNA in the trunk of her car, and Cruz-Romero was arrested on theft charges and for violating his probation in Puerto Rico, deputies said.

On Thursday, the Volusia County Sheriff's Office announced that Cruz-Romero had officially been charged with second-degree murder.


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