Prosecutors: Husband indicted on murder, several other charges in wife's asphyxiation death


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ELIZABETH, New Jersey — A northern New Jersey man accused of killing his wife and stuffing her body in a suitcase last year has been indicted on murder charges.

Union County prosecutors say 40-year-old Abayuba Rivas, of Elizabeth, also faces three counts of hindering apprehension, two weapons offenses and single counts of child endangerment and desecration of human remains in the indictment handed up Friday by a county grand jury.

Rivas is accused of killing his 32-year-old wife, Karla Jose Villagra Garzon, in February 2014 and dumping her body in a vacant home in nearby Chatham Township in Morris County.

Rivas reported his wife missing the next morning, claiming she had left their home the night before to walk to a local pharmacy but never returned. That sparked an intense search that ended three weeks later when investigators found the body in the house.

An autopsy by the county Medical Examiner's Office determined that Garzon died of asphyxiation, with blunt-force trauma a contributing factor.

Rivas pleaded not guilty to murder charges last year. He remains jailed on $2 million bail.

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