Norman police are investigating the death of a teenager whose decomposed body was discovered in the basement of a home near the University of Oklahoma campus.
Decomposed Body of a Woman Was Found in May
Police in Norman say Margarita Sandoval was 19 years old when she went missing in 2018. In the month of May, police received a tip to search a house in Norman for a dead body. Officers were called to the home when someone living there overheard two people mention "a dead body in the basement," according to KFOR.
Officers Saw a Liquid Leaking from the Box, Followed by Insects Escaping
According to a police report obtained by News on 6, the body was "wrapped in numerous layers of a thick plastic, possibly 20-30 layers." Police say Margarita's body was found stashed under the stairs in a box wrapped in plastic, packing tape, and a rope. They also say it was oozing liquid and smelled as if the body had been decomposing for some time.
For Three Years, No One Knew What Had Become of Sandoval
A medical examiner later confirmed the victim's identity as Sandoval, but the cause of death remains under investigation. Margarita "Maggie" Sandoval was 19 years old when she vanished in 2018, and some family members wondered what had happened to her. "We knew something was wrong when she stopped calling my mom," Taylor Hearon, Sandoval's sister, told Local News 9.
The Strange Connection of Sandoval's Brother
The resident at the home told police he moved there in 2019 and knew nothing about the dead body in his basement. He said he had allowed a friend, Octavio Sanchez, to store items in the basement but hadn't seen him since May 2020, authorities said. Sanchez has been described as Sandoval's brother and had been living at an address where Margarita had been receiving her social security payments.
Sandoval was receiving social security payments monthly because she had a mental disability. Her sister tells Local News 9 that some family members had wanted to become Sandoval's legal caretaker to receive the payments.
Sandoval, who The Oklahoman reported had special needs, was last known to be living with Sanchez and his wife. She filed a report in February 2018 that the couple was abusing her, according to the newspaper.
After conducting a search warrant at Sanchez's home, police learned the couple had been collecting Social Security benefits intended for Sandoval, the Oklahoman reported. They also found a handgun in his garage and charged him with possession of a firearm by a felon.
As of now, no official charges have been made and no suspects have been named. Norman Police say this is still an active and ongoing investigation.