EL PASO, Texas -- Police on Thursday had not yet found a body in their murder investigation into missing mother, 29-year-old Erika Gaytán, but investigators do have an idea of where she might be.
Police arrested 28-year-old Ricardo Marquez on Wednesday, accusing him of murdering Gaytan after a concert date July 13.
Gaytán went missing on a Saturday night and police say her body was hidden the next day, on a Sunday just after noon.
Police said Marquez borrowed a Jeep from his brother and a shovel from his sister before driving east along Montana into the desert, where surveillance footage loses track of him.
Footage then shows Marquez returning to the city an hour later.
According to police, Marquez had traces Gaytan’s blood in the Jeep and traces of sand matching the desert east along Montana on his clothes. Police believe the body was buried in the desert east of the city.
Red Sands is one of the most visited desert areas in that direction, and searches have been conducted.
However, nothing has been found yet in those 14,000 acres.
While someone with a shovel may seem suspicious in hindsight, a volunteer rescue worker out at Red Sands told ABC-7 that it’s actually a normal sight, especially on a weekend.
“It’s very common to see people get stuck out here in the soft sand. As you can see the sand is very soft, so the shovel would be used to dig yourself out,” said Jamil Moutran of the Texas Rescue Patrol.
The sand dunes are easily changed by the wind, something may be covered or uncovered with their natural erosion. If a body is eventually found it would not be the first time in that part of El Paso County.
“Not too far from (here) there were some incidents that had occurred near the school,” Moutran said.
Whether its in the dunes, on the packed earth or in another desert area entirely, there are still hopes of the body being discovered.
“If you are offroading out here, keep your eyes open. If you see something suspicious report it to authorities. Keep an eye on your surroundings when you’re out here,” Moutran said.