Edgar Macias-Moreno, 24, is being held on $10 million bond after being charged with first degree murder in connection with the death of Madelaine Loh, 27, of Hotchkiss.
According to an arrest affidavit filed in Delta District Court, Loh was living with Macias-Moreno, her boyfriend, on a farm on L Road in Hotchkiss. Her mother, who lives out of state, contacted the Delta County Sheriff's Office on June 24, saying she had not talked to her daughter since June 19. Helen Loh said it was very unusual for her to not have contact with Madelaine for that long.
A missing persons report was filed, and sheriff's investigators determined the couple was last seen at about 5 p.m. June 19.
Eight days later, shortly after 5 a.m. on June 27, investigators received a call from Macias-Moreno and his family, advising he wanted to talk to an investigator.
According to the arrest affidavit, Macias-Moreno said he and Loh had been dating for about a year, but had recently been having issues. The evening of June 19, they got into a verbal argument which escalated into a physical exchange between the two. Macias-Moreno admitted strangling Loh to death, then driving her body to a remote area in Utah, using her car and taking her dog.
Along the way, he said he pulled over to the side of the road, took the collar off Loh's dog and then left the dog on the side of the highway. The dog was later recovered on Highway 50 near Bridgeport Road.
He told investigators he continued driving west until the sun began to rise, then he drove about a mile off the interstate and placed Loh's body behind a tree stump.
As a result of his interview of Macias-Moreno, lead investigator Quinn Archibeque added to the charge of first degree murder to include second degree kidnapping, reckless endangerment, aggravated motor vehicle theft, unauthorized use of a financial transaction device, identity theft, domestic violence, concealing death, cruelty to animals and abuse of a corpse, for leaving Loh's body in Utah.
According to the arrest affidavit, Macias-Moreno continued driving to Las Vegas. On Monday, June 25, he decided to return home to his family in Hotchkiss.
Using information provided by Macias-Moreno, searchers from the Millard County Sheriff's Office in Utah were able to recover Loh's body. Delta County and CBI investigators responded to Utah to assist with the crime scene investigation.
Over the weekend, Loh's car was located in a remote area near Orangeville, Utah. Investigators believe Macias-Moreno dumped the car there during his drive back from Las Vegas.
Although Macias-Moreno has admitted his culpability, Delta County Sheriff Fred McKee anticipates a lengthy investigation. He said DCSO and CBI investigators will put in a great deal of time corroborating Macias-Moreno's story through store video and financial transactions.
"We will be covering every base," said Archibeque. "We feel we'll be able to track his location every single day, once all is said and done."
Sheriff McKee said the authorities in Millard and Emory counties have been tremendously helpful. He also expressed appreciation to CBI investigators for their assistance.
A collaborative effort between the Delta County Sheriff's Office and municipal law enforcement agencies throughout Delta County has resulted in a proposal for a 1 percent sales tax increase to fund public safety. A PowerPoint presentation titled "Back the Badge" is starting to make the rounds at city/town council meetings, service club luncheons and other events.