A murder charge was filed Wednesday against Francisco Valdivia, 37, an undocumented immigrant married to two women at the same time in Tulare County.
One of the wives, Cecilia Bravo Cabrera, 30, is missing and presumed dead, but her body has not been found, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office said.
Valdivia was also charged with arson because Cabrera’s burned-out car was found in an orchard near Traver the same day she disappeared. She was last seen June 9 at the Tachi Palace Casino near Lemoore.
The Tulare County District Attorney’s Office filed related charges Wednesday against Rosalina Lopez, 39, Valdivia’s other wife who shared his home. Lopez is charged with one count of being an accessory after the fact.
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Both were arraigned Wednesday at the Tulare County Pre-Trial Facility courtroom. Valdivia is being held without bail, while Lopez is being held on $500,000 bail.
Valdivia and Lopez are from Mexico and the Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday it requested that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement place immigration holds on them at the jail.
Valdivia married Lopez in Mexico in 2007, Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said at a news conference Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Sheriff’s Office described Lopez as Valdivia’s common-law wife. He married Cabrera, a resident of Farmersville, in what Boudreaux said was an attempt to gain legal residency. Valdivia “used Cecilia in a business relationship to gain himself legal residence,” he said.
Investigators suspect homicide because Cabrera disappeared, suddenly stopped communicating via social media and did not contact her children, the sheriff said. There is evidence that both Valdivia and Lopez made threats on Cabrera’s life, he said.
Several days after she disappeared, Valdivia was arrested on charges of cultivation of marijuana for sale and several related felony charges. He pleaded no contest Dec. 6 and was set to be released on probation when he was arrested on suspicion of murder.
Cabrera has four children, three girls and a boy ages 9 through 16, the Sheriff’s Office said. Two children are being cared for by their father, and two by Cabrera’s brother.
Anyone who might have information related to the case is asked to call the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office at 559-733-6218, or send anonymous information by text or email to TCSO@tipnow.com or call 559-725-4194.