Court documents revealed the ex-boyfriend of a Pleasant Grove woman was wanted for her murder long before last week’s announcement.
Dallas police named Faustino Valdez, the ex-boyfriend of Marisol Espinoza, as the suspect in the year-old case. She disappeared on December 29, 2015. Her body found last March.
FOX 4 News obtained court documents that show Valdez was actually wanted for Espinosa's murder more than eight months ago. Some legal experts believe keeping it quiet was all part of a legal strategy.
Valdez spoke to FOX 4 in January 2016, just days after his longtime girlfriend disappeared. The father of two of the couple's children described the last time he claimed he saw Espinosa.
“Just a lot of things are going through my mind right now. I just don't know what to think right now?” he said. “"She left the house fine. She got ready like she always does. She took a shower, got ready, put her clothes on, put her make up on. She kissed my goodbye and said she was leaving."
Valdez talked in a Pleasant Grove park not far from where the couple lived. Dozens of family, friends, coworkers and even clients searched for clues until Espinosa's body was found in March.
A Dallas County Grand Jury document indicting Valdez for murder was dated April 26, 2016. It wasn't until eight months later that Valdez was publicly named as a suspect.
Criminal Defense Attorney Toby Shook, who is not involved in the case, says there may be a legal strategy — especially if investigators believe Valdez left the country.
"It's very unusual. And the only reason I think they did that is so they could arrest him and get a statement from him,” Shook said. “There's a good chance he's in Mexico. But now that he's indicted and you have that, you can probably extradite him."
Espinosa's family did not return calls for comment.
Dallas police say they have nothing more to add about the investigation except to say if anyone knows where Valdez is, there’s a $5,000 reward for information that leads to him.