Chula Vista police arrested Larry Millete, 40, on Tuesday under suspicion that he killed his wife, who has been missing since January. Authorities said that Millete is also charged with illegal possession of an assault weapon, and faces life in prison if convicted.
“Sometimes missing persons cases remain unsolved, but as the evidence unfolded in this case, it pointed in one direction — that May was murdered,” said San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan in a statement.
“As we make this announcement, I know the hearts of the community are with May’s family, her three young children, and everyone who knew and loved her.”
Still No Body
Officials did not say what single piece of evidence led them to arrest Larry Millete. So far, May Millete’s body has not been found.
But the DA’s office said that California law allows prosecutors to file murder charges without having discovered the victim’s body.
“Specifically, case law holds that successfully disposing of a victim’s body does not entitle a murderer to avoid prosecution,” authorities wrote.
But at a Tuesday press conference announcing the arrest, officials said they had enough circumstantial evidence to file charges.
“A lot of evidence will come out in court,” DA Stephan said.
“[The arrest] is a surprise to me since they have no proof Maya is dead and I believe she is still alive,” said Bonita Martinez, Larry Millete’s attorney.
Police: Larry Millete ‘Snapped’
Prosecutors revealed some of the circumstantial evidence they plan to use to convict Larry Millete at the Tuesday press conference. They said that they believe May Millete, who also went by Maya, planned to leave her husband.
As his marriage was falling apart, Millete contacted “spellcasters” who claimed to have magical powers, asking them to “make May stay in the relationship,” DA Stephens said.
“But as December of 2020 came, those messages to spellcasters were a lot more threatening,” he continued. “He was asking for May to become incapacitated, for May to be in an accident, to have broken bones so that she could stay at home, thus displaying his homicidal ideations to harm May.”
Stephan said that May had planned to see a divorce lawyer on Jan. 12.
But on Jan. 7 — the last night that May Millete had contact with family members — prosecutors claimed that Larry sent a text indicating he had reached a breaking point.
“I think she wants me to snap […] I’m shaking inside ready to snap,” the messages read.
According to Stephan, activity on May’s cell phone stopped at around 1:30 a.m. on Jan. 8. He said that a few hours later, at about 6 a.m., security footage at the Millete home showed Larry repositioning his car in the garage, moving so that the vehicle’s trunk was not in view of the camera.
Prosecutors said that Larry got in the car, bringing along his 4-year-old child, and did not return home for 11 hours.
When questioned by investigators, Larry reportedly said he and the child had gone to the Solana Beach, about a 30-minute drive from Chula Vista. But officials said his car’s GPS logged him as being two-and-a-half hours from his residence that day.
The DA also noted that Larry Millete had neglected to turn over one of his firearms, a .40-caliber gun, to investigators serving a search warrant.
Family Efforts Aided Investigators
Chula Vista Police Chief Roxana Kennedy said at the press conference that investigators served 67 search warrants, conducted 87 interviews, reviewed 130 tips and worked thousands of hours in to figure out what happened to May Millete.
She also thanked May Millete’s sister and brother-in-law, Maricris and Richard Drouaillet, a for working to keep the case in the public consciousness.
“They rallied around her family and helped keep May’s disappearance in the spotlight,” Kennedy said.
They said in a post on Tuesday that they were “saddened” by investigators’ findings and that they “continue to pray that we find her.”