BUTLER, Ala. (AP) - An Alabama prosecutor disagreed Friday with investigators’ conclusion that a Mississippi man killed his wife and left her body in a rural dump decades ago.
Recent DNA testing showed that remains found in rural Choctaw County in 1974 were those of 17-year-old Delorise Diane Gonzales, who was last seen alive in June 1973 in Gulfport, Mississippi. No one was ever charged in her death.
Police in Gulfport, Mississippi, told reporters Thursday they believe the woman was killed by her husband of two years, Robert Gonzales, based upon statements he made to others before his death in 2007.
But Choctaw County District Attorney Spencer Walker said he doubts the conclusion.
Neither the man nor the woman had any known ties to the Alabama community, Walker said, and the body’s location at an illegal dump frequented by area residents made it appear someone local was involved.
“I have a hard time believing Robert Gonzales drove all the way to that site in Choctaw County to dump the body,” said Walker. “It just doesn’t make sense.”
Besides, Walker said, while Gonzales did claim to have killed the woman, he also said he’d buried the body in Mississippi.
“So I know he lied about that,” said the prosecutor.
The case was revived in late 2012 after workers with the Alabama Department of Forensic Science located the woman’s remains and realized they hadn’t undergone DNA testing, Walker said.
Walker said he and investigators gathered information that led them to information about Delorise Gonzales in a missing-persons database, and DNA samples submitted by her relatives were used to match the remains found by a man dumping yard debris in 1974. The woman was shot twice in the head.
“He actually picked up the skull and heard the bullets rattling around. He’s the one who called police,” said Walker.
Although the woman’s death remains an open homicide case, Walker said it was unlikely it will ever be solved because of the amount of time that has passed.
“It takes a team of people working together to make a case like this come together,” Walker said. “Our goal was to reunite the family with the remains of their loved one. That goal has been accomplished.”
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.