The identification of a woman’s dismembered, burned body has led to the arrest of a man suspected of killing her, the sheriff’s office of Stanislaus County, California, announced Tuesday.
The body of 25-year-old Stephanie Fagundes was uncovered when the department’s SWAT team served a warrant to Albert Gonzalez, 41, in Nov. 2022, according to the news release shared on Facebook. Gonzalez was wanted for assault with a deadly weapon at the time, and law enforcement obtained a search warrant after being alerted to the possibility that human remains were present at his property, the sheriff’s office reported.
The remains uncovered were partial, as Fagundes’ body had been dismembered and burned. The 25-year-old last spoke to her family in October 2022, and she was reported missing not long after that call. Gonzalez was arrested and charged in relation to her homicide, the press release noted.
“The body was dismembered,” Sgt. Veronica Esquivez told KCRA. “It was burned. Her entire body wasn’t there. There were just bits and pieces.” It took months for investigators to link Fagundes’ missing person case to the burned remains.
“We had received notice there was a missing woman that went missing around the same time the remains were found,” Esquivez continued. “Her family came in, gave a DNA sample, and we were able to connect them through DNA with the [Department of Justice’s] help.” (RELATED: Missing Oregon Mother Found Dead Outside Of Barn: Reports)
Investigators confirmed the identity of the remains in early April, which is why investigators are only now speaking to the press about the case, KCRA noted. Authorities told CBS13 they are confident that the remains recovered from Gonzalez’s property were all from Fagundes’ body.