A Colorado man who pleaded guilty to killing his estranged wife more than 20 years ago recently led authorities to her body, which was buried under the remains of a World War II veteran.
In 2010, John Sandoval was sentenced to life in prison for killing his wife Kristina in 1995, but the state’s court of appeals overturned the conviction and ordered a new trial, which was set to begin March 27.
On Friday, Sandoval pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and received a 25-year sentence after accepting a plea deal, in which he received credit for the 8 years he’d already served, he led investigators to his wife’s body.
“He tried to get his bearings and ultimately he pointed us to a very specific grave at the cemetery,” Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke said after Sandoval pointed the investigators to Sunset Memorial Gardens.
Sandoval had reportedly worked at the graveyard in 1995 when the murder took place, and authorities have always thought the body may have been hidden in a grave there. However, without Sandoval’s help, they had so far been unable to figure out which one.
Kristina Sandoval disappeared after going to meet her husband so that he could sign their divorce papers and give her a tax payment. Her family remembered her being nervous for the meeting, and she even told her sister she would call her in the morning to let her know how it went. Unfortunately, she never made that call.
“You may wonder, ‘What is like to be asked to weigh in on a plea offer in exchange for knowing where the body of your loved one was tossed aside?'” her family said in a statement about their decision to take the plea deal. “For as much as we have all longed to recover Tina, it was nonetheless very disturbing to receive word of a plea offer … in the end, we reached our decision as a family and we are at peace with it.