Expired: Husband Charged With 2009 Murder Of Missing Wife

More than 8 years after Mary Avellaneda was killed, authorities hope an arrest in the case can help bring closure to her family.

On January 6th, 2009, relatives of the 38 year-old Sampson County woman reported her and her 13 year-old son missing. They had last been seen two days earlier at their home near Salemburg.

Sampson County sheriff’s detectives also attempted to locate Mary Avellaneda’s husband, Jose Cruz Avellaneda to question him about the whereabouts of his missing wife and teenage son.  However, it was learned that Mr. Avellaneda had fled the United States to Mexico.

After a diligent search, the deceased body of Mrs. Avellaneda was found several days later in a wooded area in rural Sampson County.  The vehicle belonging to the couple was located abandoned in San Antonio, Texas. Deputies also learned that the 13 year-old was now living in Mexico.

Last week, the Sampson County Sheriff’s and Polk County, Florida Sheriff’s Office both received information that Jose Cruz Avellaneda was living in Polk County, Florida.

Polk County deputies took Mr. Avellaneda into custody on unrelated charges.  Investigators with the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office flew to Florida last week and conducted several interviews related to the homicide.

Probable cause was established to obtain a murder warrant on Mr. Avellaneda and detain him on a fugitive warrant with no bond.  He is now awaiting extradition back to North Carolina where he will be formally charged with the 2009 murder of his wife.

“This has been a lengthy investigation, which is far from over. I sincerely appreciate the hard work of my investigators and the hard work of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office,” stated Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton. “I’m content that we can now provide the family of Mary Avellaneda the closure they deserve with the arrest of Jose Cruz Avellaneda”