August 03, 2021
In 2018, 19-year-old Margarita Sandoval filed multiple abuse reports against her brother and sister-in-law in the state of Oklahoma. After she turned 18, Sandoval, who had special needs, had been sent to live with her brother, Octavio Sanchez, 34, and his wife, Desiree Sanchez. Margarita had filed multiple abuse reports, the final of which was on 16 April 2018, and reports state that when officers responded to the scene, an apartment in the 1600 block of Ann Branden Boulevard, Margarita had visible bruising to her face and body. Although the abuse claims were investigated by both the police and Adult Protective Services, Margarita never pressed charges against Octavio and Desiree.
She went missing that same year and would never be seen alive again.
Margarita Sandoval’s sister, Taylor Hearon, offered monetary gain as a motivation for Margarita's abuse and disappearance. She explained to media outlets that as soon as Margarita turned 18-years-old various family members were out to benefit from the social security checks that she received for a mental disability by registering as the teenager’s carer. Margarita had spent time at the Griffin Memorial Hospital where she had received treatment for her mental health.
Even though Margarita went missing sometime in 2018 and ceased all contact with her family, her social security checks were still being cashed. According to Hearon, the victim was being “passed around” as a cash-cow.
"We knew something was wrong when she stopped calling my mom" Hearon said.
Sometime after 2019, Octavio Sanchez asked a friend of his, Miguel Munoz, who lived at 715 West Lindsey Street, just several blocks from the university of Oklahoma campus, if he could store some items at his home. Munoz agreed and said he could store some things in the basement.
On 14 May 2021, police obtained an affidavit for a search warrant and conducted an interview with Munoz at his home. Munoz told police that he hadn’t seen Octavio Sanchez since the spring of 2020 when the pair had an altercation after Octavio Sanchez attempted to enter Munoz’ home uninvited. Munoz agreed that officers could search the basement under the stairs, and they soon discovered a large box measuring 3 feet by 4 feet.
When they opened the box, they found a shape wrapped in around 20 – 30 layers of plastic secured with rope and tape and began to cut at it to reveal the contents. The affidavit states that when officers penetrated the plastic wrapping a liquid began to seep out, followed by a burst of insects. A strong stench of decomposition followed, and police quickly knew they had a body on their hands. The box was X-rayed, and their suspicions were confirmed.
On the same day Miguel Munoz home was searched, Octavio Sanchez was arrested for possession of a firearm. Police had approached him at his garage where they arrested him after discovering a handgun in a trash bin inside the premises. Octavio Sanchez was taken in for questioning but soon released. According to reports, Octavio Sanchez' home was also searched that day, and investigators discovered letters and documents that revealed Sanchez and his wife had been claiming social security benefits intended for Margarita Sandoval, who had at that point been missing for three years.
Miguel Munoz told police that he was completely unaware that there had been a body stored under his stairs. The body was sent to the medical examiner’s office and the remains were officially identified as that of the missing teenage girl.
According to reports, Munoz and his family had temporarily lived with Sanchez and his wife when they first relocated to Oklahoma. While residing at the same property, one of Munoz' teenage children overheard Munoz and Sanchez discussing “a body in the basement”. When Munoz and his children moved into their current home on Lindsey Street, his teenage daughter became suspicious about the basement space under the stairs and grew concerned that it was the basement she had heard previously discussed. Sanchez had helped Munoz find the rental on Lindsay Street.
Octavio Sanchez has not, at this time, been charged with the death of Margarita Sandoval, nor has the Norman Police Department formally identified any suspects in the death of Miss Sandoval.
"I can't imagine any neighbourhood ever having an incident like this because it's so eerie and unusual. I haven't really ever heard of this happening before. We were just shocked when we heard it. It's creepy. It's eerie, and it's unbelievable" said a neighbor.
"Due to the current status of the case, information is limited at this time. Detectives are actively completing a thorough and detailed investigation. Once completed, we will present the case to the District Attorney's office, who will review the case and file the appropriate charges” said Sarah Jensen, a spokesperson for the Norman Police Department.
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