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July 5, 2018 3:55 pm

Andrew Gant
Office of Public Affairs & Media Relations

SUSPECT CHARGED IN 2016 MURDER OF DELTONA WOMAN

Volusia County sheriff’s detectives today announced the arrest of the killer of a Deltona woman who disappeared in 2016.

The remains of the victim, 40-year-old Maria Marquez-Rivera of Deltona, were found buried in a shallow grave near Ormond Beach in November 2016, seven weeks after her disappearance in October.

Her killer, her 49-year-old ex-boyfriend Orlando Cruz Romero (DOB 3/7/1969) of Puerto Rico, is facing a charge of second-degree murder. He is already in federal custody in Bayamon, where he was previously sentenced to 30 months in prison on identity theft charges filed during the initial homicide investigation.

The investigation started as a missing person case on Oct. 4, 2016, when Marquez-Rivera’s daughter reported her disappearance. Marquez-Rivera was believed to be in the company of her abusive ex, Cruz-Romero. Detectives learned Cruz-Romero had a history of violence toward the victim, had previously served time in Puerto Rico for homicide and was wanted there for violating his probation by leaving the island.

VCSO Major Case detectives who searched Marquez-Rivera’s residence (1501 Daroca Drive) found small amounts of blood inside and outside, and evidence of a clean-up. On Oct. 10, the Chevrolet Impala that Marquez-Rivera drove turned up in a parking lot in the northeastern United States and VCSO detectives went there to process it. Her DNA was found in the trunk.

On Oct. 21, Cruz-Romero turned up in a hospital in Detroit, Mich., and VCSO detectives traveled there to interview him. While he denied any involvement in Marquez-Rivera’s disappearance, the U.S. Marshals Service arrested Cruz-Romero for violating his probation and for the theft of the Impala. Detectives also obtained evidence of identity theft that would eventually lead to his conviction in Puerto Rico.

On Nov. 25, 2016, Marquez-Rivera’s family’s worst fears were confirmed when a hunter discovered her skeletal remains in a wooded area near Interstate 95 and U.S. 1 in the Ormond Beach area. An autopsy by the medical examiner determined Marquez-Rivera’s manner of death was homicide, caused by homicidal violence.

Detectives believe Cruz-Romero killed Marquez-Rivera during an altercation at her home sometime after 11:30 p.m. Oct. 3, 2016, then cleaned up the scene, and drove to the wooded area off I-95, where he buried her in a shallow grave.

Marquez-Rivera and Cruz-Romero had a 3-year-old son who was present at the home the night of Oct. 3. Cruz-Romero dropped him off at a relative’s house sometime before taking Marquez-Rivera’s body to the woods in Ormond.

Previous news releases in this case are below:

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June 8, 2017

What started as a missing person case involving a 40-year-old Deltona woman has become a murder investigation.

Maria Milagros Marquez-Rivera was reported missing to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 4, 2016. At that time, Sheriff’s detectives believed that she may have been in the company of an ex-boyfriend. About seven weeks later, on Nov. 25, 2016, a hunter discovered human skeletal remains in a wooded area off of Broadway Avenue in Ormond Beach. The remains have since been identified as Marquez-Rivera. While the cause of death is unknown at this time, based on information developed in the investigation, the death is being treated as a homicide. The vehicle that the victim had been driving was recovered in the northeastern United States. Detectives with the Sheriff’s Office’s Major Case Unit have also located and interviewed Marquez-Rivera’s ex-boyfriend. No charges have been filed and the investigation is continuing.

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Oct. 5, 2016

DEPUTIES SEEK HELP FINDING MISSING 40-YEAR-OLD DELTONA WOMAN

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help in locating a 40-year-old Deltona woman who went missing earlier this week.
 
Maria Milagros Marquez-Rivera was reported missing to the Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday afternoon. A family member last spoke to Marquez-Rivera by phone on Monday, but friends and relatives haven’t been able to get a hold of her since. Marquez-Rivera is known to drive a grey, 2009 Chevrolet Impala with a Florida tag, BDZW31. Deputies believe she may be in the company of her ex-boyfriend.
 
Marquez-Rivera is 5’2” and weighs approximately 200 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone who spots her, the Chevrolet Impala that Marquez-Rivera was driving or has information about Marquez-Rivera’s disappearance is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at (386) 943-8276. Anyone with information who prefers to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida toll-free at (888) 277-TIPS. Callers to Crime Stoppers can qualify for a reward of up to $5,000. Tips also can be submitted anonymously by downloading the smartphone app from the Crime Stoppers web site (http://www.westopcrime.com/).

Volusia County Sheriff's Office

Administrative offices: West Volusia 386-736-5961 Daytona Beach 386-254-4689 New Smyrna Beach 386-423-3352

Non-emergency dispatch numbers: DeLand 386-943-8276 Daytona Beach 386-239-8276 New Smyrna Beach 386-409-8276 Osteen 407-323-0151

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