CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A person of interest in a Charlotte murder investigation was found dead Tuesday in an apparent suicide.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say the victim, 36-year-old Mara Garcia, was in a romantic relationship and living with 29-year-old Lenin Noel Turcios Corea.
(Click here to view photos of the person of interest)
The woman's dismembered body was found Sunday, concealed in an SUV in a northeast Charlotte apartment parking lot in the 6100 block of Dove Tree Lane. A caller told police the vehicle was parked there several days and emitted a strong odor.
Police discovered Garcia’s body Tuesday afternoon.
One of the things complicating matters for police is that although they can't rule it out, no one believes that the SUV is the actual place where the murder was committed.
Doctor Vivian Lord with the UNCC Criminal Justice Department shared her thoughts on the case with NBC Charlotte.
"He decides ‘I'm going to go into some big box store. Who’s going to see me?’ He knows nobody is checking the back of cards, [but] not realizing all of these stores are going to have cameras everywhere."
"That always makes things more complicated if you have multiple crime scenes,” Dr. Lord explained, “She was perhaps apprehended one place, taken to another place and murdered, and then where she was found is where she was dumped.”
All of this means it may take investigators a while to solve this case, which is not a comforting thought for residents.
"It’s a shame that we can’t sit outside. We have kids out here playing, and we have to be careful walking through there now,” said resident Gracie Wilson.
A.J. Jeter was part of a huge crowd that gathered outside Wednesday night as a police officers processed the crime scene.
"It's sad to think what people would do to another individual. That's real real sad," he said.
Neighbors in the Town University Pointe homes say the couple mostly kept to themselves.
"She was Hispanic. She had brownish blackish hair. She really didn't come out much. Usually she will stay inside the house," said Deja Nunn, who lives several doors down.
Nunn said two families had lived in the house but one family had moved out recently.
Another neighbor told NBC Charlotte that Garcia and Corea had several young children between them, but the children did not live with them.
Several neighbors said they have not seen Garcia in nearly a month. They said her boyfriend also had not been seen for at least two weeks. They wonder if his disappearance was around the time Corea took his own life.
"He knew he was going to get locked up. He knew he couldn't do the time, so it's his easy way out. It's a cowardly way out let's put it that way," said another neighbor, James Drummond.
If you have any information on the case, you are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or you can call investigators directly at 704-432-TIPS.