Crime

Bodies Found In Search For Missing Arizona Couple, Man Arrested

| by Reuters

Two bodies believed to be an Arizona couple who vanished 10 days ago were found on Thursday by sheriff's officials and a man was arrested on suspicion of their murder, authorities said.

Mike and Tina Careccia were last seen leaving their home in Maricopa, 30 miles south of Phoenix, on June 22, a son told police. Their car was found about a mile away, covered in dirt.

Authorities said Jose Valenzuela, 38, was booked into the Pinal County jail on suspicion of first-degree murder after their remains were discovered on the property where he lives.

In a statement, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said family members of the couple had been notified of the developments.

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"Our investigators and staff continue to carefully gather evidence that we believe will prove critical to our investigation and result in a stronger criminal case," he said.

Babeu was due to hold a news conference later on Thursday.

Local television news footage showed investigators digging beneath a sunshade in the backyard of Valenzuela's single-storey home, which is in a rural, desert area. It is also close to where the couple's car was found.

Careccia, a 44-year-old pilot, and his accountant wife, 42, had been married for about a year.

Their disappearance triggered a widespread search, with volunteers combing the area and sheriff's deputies going door to door quizzing residents.

On Tuesday, Babeu had said foul play was suspected, but did not elaborate on why investigators had reached that conclusion.

(Reporting by David Schwartz; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Sandra Maler)