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Police Detective, Husband Search For Closure In Unsolved Murder

Everyday, Det. Jimmy Aguirre tackles Crimes Against Persons cases.

As he works on the cases, there is a small, plastic reminder he has taped to his desk in his cubicle to remind him of one particular case.

It?s a driver?s license that belonged to 71-year-old Joyce Villalobos – a retired teacher and a beloved wife, mother, and grandmother.

Three years ago on July 20, Joyce was viciously murdered in her home in a quiet Central El Paso neighborhood.

“This was brutal in the sense that, in our terminology, it was overkill,? said Aguirre, who has been investigating the murder since day one. ?They went above and beyond to physically assault her and attack her.”

He?s not the only one who lives with a daily reminder of Joyce?s life and death.

?It was a shock to me and it?s taken, even now after three years, it?s taken all this time to realize that it actually happened to me,? Joyce?s husband, Cecil, told ABC-7. ?Sometimes I wake up in the morning and think maybe I was dreaming, maybe it was a nightmare.”

He still lives in the home he shared with his wife of 50 years. The living room mantle is adorned with pictures of her, along with her remains.

Cecil still remembers the moment he found his wife lying on the dining room floor when he returned from Juarez that day three years ago.

“I thought she had fainted. I saw the blood there and I thought maybe she had hurt her head and that she was still alive,? Cecil said. ?I never thought anything had happened to her. Not like that. Until I got back – the phone is in the kitchen. I went to the kitchen, came back, touched her, and she was cold. And I knew she was dead.”

Cecil thinks someone was watching his home and saw him leave, giving that person an opportunity to get inside. He doesn’t know who, only that that person wasn’t from the neighborhood.”

But detectives have another theory because there was no sign of forced entry, no burglary, no sexual assault, and attempted clean-up of the crime scene.

“We believe that the responsible person or persons was someone that was known to Mrs. Villalobos,? Aguirre said. “Any motive that we put forth – potential motive – is centered around the family structure.”

Detectives began looking into Cecil, whom they call a person of interest in the case.

“It was a traumatic experience, being blamed for something,? Cecil said. ?I had to prove my innocence instead of being innocent and being proven guilty, you know what I’m saying.”

According to police, Cecil is stalling the case by refusing to talk to them.

He spoke to investigators once, on the day of his wife?s murder, and then he hired an attorney.

“How can I tell them anything? I don’t know anything,? Cecil said.

But detectives said they think Cecil knows details that may help them break the case.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that they came through the back door. And the front door was open,? Cecil said. ?She never left the front door open. When I found her, she had just taken a shower. She had her towel wrapped around her. And I don’t know if the police ever asked me that or not . I don’t think they ever asked me. It was just, ?maybe you did it, you did it,? that kind of stuff.”

While Aguirre wouldn?t elaborate on why police think someone close to Joyce, or even Cecil, may have motive to kill her, he did reveal this about her murder.

“I can safely tell you that it occurred prior to his departure,? Aguirre said.

But without more information from Cecil, police said they are stuck. Because Cecil has spoken to investigators, he can’t be labeled an uncooperative witness and forced to testify before a grand jury. And since he has an attorney and declined further interviews – any more attempts by police to get him to talk could be deemed harrassment.

Now, both Cecil and Aguirre will continue to search for closure.

Cecil has no animosity toward his wife?s murderer.

“In my case, he’s forgiven. I have no remorse towards that person,? Cecil said. ?I don’t wish him any wrong. I just wish that person would ask God to forgive him or her for what she did.”

And Aguirre wants justice for Joyce.

?I?m hoping that we’re able to resolve the case so her soul may rest in peace one day,? Aguirre said. “She was a good person. And we’re not going to give up in resolving her case.”

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 566-8477 or Det. Jimmy Aguirre at 564-7028.

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