A Woodburn man is now facing charges in connection with the murder of a missing Hillsboro woman.
Hillsboro police said 29-year-old Eloy Vasquez-Santiago was arrested at the California-Mexico border Sept. 29 after turning himself in.
Officers said Vasquez-Santiago killed 55-year-old Maria Bolanos-Rivera, who was reported missing by family Aug. 26 shortly after she met up with Vasquez-Santiago.
In court Tuesday, Vasquez-Santiago pleaded not guilty and spoke through an interpreter. It led to a moment when he appeared to begin saying something about the woman's death, only to be advised to quickly stop talking by his attorney.
According to court documents, he confessed to investigators that he struck Bolanos-Rivera and then stabbed her. The documents go on to say he admitted disposing of her body near Hagg Lake in Washington County.
That area was searched by police, but her body still has not been found.
The two became acquaintances after working together. Cell phone records show they had been talking the day she disappeared.
A probable cause affidavit indicates he wanted a romantic relationship and his brother told detectives that Vasquez-Santiago killed her because he was fed up.
Vasquez-Santiago has long been the focus of the investigation after he fled from Oregon to California and then Mexico after Bolanos-Rivera's disappearance.
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