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New charges filed after body of missing Kearns woman found, identified

Posted at 10:36 AM, Apr 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-03 01:34:01-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A body found last week has been identified as that of missing Kearns woman Conzuelo "Nicole" Solorio-Romero, and the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office filed new charges Friday morning against four people in connection with her death.

Fernando Marquez, 22, of Kearns, and Carolina Marquez, 39, of Salt Lake City, are both charged with murder, a first-degree felony. They are also charged with kidnapping and obstructing justice.

Ivan Acosta, 27, and Cristian Morales, 26, are both charged with obstructing justice and abuse or desecration of a human body.

TIMELINE:

  • Solorio-Romero is kidnapped Feb. 6, and Unified Police immediately start their investigation.
  • Three days later, UPD asks for the public's help and releases her photo, along with surveillance video of her being taken at knifepoint into a car.
  • On Feb. 16, Orlando Tobar and Jorge Medina-Reyes are arrested in connection with her murder.
  • Over a month later on March 24, three more people — Ivan Acosta, Carolina Marquez and Fernando Marquez — are also arrested in relation to the case.
  • On March 26, a body wrapped in garbage bags is found and identified as Solorio-Romero; Cristian Morales-Gonzalez is the sixth person arrested.
  • On April 2, Salt Lake County District Attorney files additional charges.

WHAT COURT DOCUMENTS SAY ABOUT HER MURDER:
Unified Police began their investigation after receiving a report that Solorio-Romero had sent a video message to a friend saying there were two men with guns forcing her to leave her home, near 5100 W. 5400 South.

The kidnapping happened in broad daylight and was captured on surveillance video.

Police said they later determined Solorio-Romero had been forced into a green Toyota Camry driven by 21-year-old Jorge Medina-Reyes.

Witnesses told police Solorio-Romero was brought at knifepoint to an apartment near 1100 W Elba Ave. in West Valley City.

At the apartment, 29-year-old Orlando Tobar questioned Solorio-Romero regarding her alleged conversation with police that resulted in the arrest of one of Tobar’s associates, who was taken into federal custody. Solorio-Romero denied talking to police.

RELATED: Suspects charged with murdering Kearns woman accused her of talking to police

According to police, state records show Tobar’s associate was a relative of Carolina Marquez and was indeed in federal custody.

Solorio-Romero also allegedly told a witness in the apartment that her husband had been murdered by Tobar and Medina-Reyes, and did not commit suicide as it was believed.

Police say that Tobar then told Solorio-Romero "that she knew too much, and that she was not going to leave the apartment." Tobar then shot her in the back of the head, police say.

“All the witnesses immediately exited the apartment and walked outside, leaving [Tobar], [Medina-Reyes] and [Carolina Marquez] inside the apartment with [Solorio-Romero].

"Once outside, the witnesses heard another gunshot and then witnessed [Tobar] walk outside holding a gun with blood on his hands.

"Witnesses heard [Tobar] say that he had to shoot [Solorio-Romero] a second time,” the probable cause statements say.

Witnesses told police that Tobar and Medina-Reyes shot Solorio-Romero and that Tobar, Medina-Reyes and Cristian Morales were the ones who disposed of Solorio-Romero’s body.

“[Solorio-Romero]’s body was next seen by witnesses wrapped in black plastic garbage bags, being loaded into the back of a landscape trailer attached to a white pickup truck,” the probable cause statements say.

Acosta told police he had been at the West Valley City apartment when Solorio-Romero was brought there, and he was outside the apartment when Solorio-Romero was shot.

According to the probable cause statements, Acosta told police that everyone at the apartment went to Carolina Marquez’s restaurant, Tacos Mi Carmela, immediately after the shooting.

Police said video surveillance footage from the restaurant shows Carolina Marquez, Fernando Marquez, Tobar and Medina-Reyes meeting in Carolina Marquez’s office “for a period of time immediately after the shooting and before returning to the house to clean the scene.”

The footage also shows someone at the restaurant giving black garbage bags to Tobar, the probable cause statements say.

West Valley City Police body camera footage shows officers conducting a welfare check for Solorio-Romero at the apartment hours after the shooting. Police said the footage shows Carolina Marquez, Fernando Marquez and Acosta at the apartment, moving items out of the apartment and locking the door.

“They appeared to be cleaning the apartment, consistent with the items in the basket they were carrying being paper towels and cleaner,” the probable cause statements say.

According to the probable cause statements, detectives discovered Solorio-Romero's body wrapped in black garbage bags on March 26 and an autopsy confirmed her identity.

Preliminary autopsy results indicate Solorio-Romero died of two gunshot wounds to the head and the manner of her death was homicide.

A search of Tobar’s home yielded a .40 caliber Bersa pistol, the same caliber as the gun used in Solorio-Romero’s murder. Police said the gun had been soaked in a chemical that had begun to corrode the gun.

“Witnesses identified the pistol as the same gun used to shoot Nicole. It was later discovered the pistol had been reported stolen out of Vernal, Utah one year prior,” the statements say.

WHAT'S NEXT IN THE CASE:
District Attorney Sim Gill says this is just the beginning of the case.

"The next stage is going to be in the next 24-48 hours," Gill said. "[The suspects] will make their first [court] appearances and we start the judicial process.”