- Associated Press - Monday, March 24, 2014

ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) - A northern New Jersey man accused of killing his wife has pleaded not guilty.

The Star-Ledger (https://bit.ly/OS3mDC) reports that a public defender entered the plea for 39-year-old Abayuba Rivas of Elizabeth during a court hearing on Monday. Rivas remains jailed on $2 million bail.

Union County prosecutors had arrested Rivas last Wednesday, one day after the body of 32-year-old Karla Jose Villagra Garzon was found in a vacant home in Chatham Township. She had been reported missing last month.

Garzon, the mother of a 2-year-old child, was last seen on Feb. 23. Rivas said she had left their home that night to walk to a local pharmacy but never returned.

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

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