Sheriff: Man who murdered his wife and buried her in a cornfield arrested in Baldwin County

Baldwin County

BAY MINETTE, Ala. (WKRG) — The Baldwin County Sheriff’s Department says a South Carolina killer was arrested in Baldwin County while holding another man hostage. A patrol deputy spotted a suspicious car early Sunday morning at a Bay Minette Marathon gas station. The deputy said it was clear there was some kind of criminal activity going on. That’s when one man in the vehicle said the other man, 42-year-old Dionicia Abarca, was forcing him to drive from South Carolina to Texas.

He was arrested for unlawful imprisonment, but that was just the beginning of the investigation. The Sheriff’s Office learned Abarca was on the run from South Carolina where his wife’s body had been found buried in a shallow grave in a cornfield. According to WKRG News 5’s sister station WSPA, the sheriff’s office said they were called to a home on Chesnee Highway Sunday morning for a missing persons report.

Deputies said several children reported that their mother and father had left home Saturday afternoon and had not returned. The children told investigators that their parents had been arguing and that they had witnessed their father choke their mother.

Investigators said the children reported that their parents were going to go shopping, check on a rental property, and to go a gardening spot.

The sheriff’s office said deputies found the parents’ pickup truck at their rental property on Small Farm Road. When investigators went to the gardening spot at the end of Concord Heights, they found fresh tracks leading into a field. Deputies found a woman’s body around 2:00pm which had been partially buried between rows of corn.

The body was later identified by the Cherokee County coroner as the mother, 37-year-old Alisia Campos Garcia.

Cherokee County investigators said they received information that the father, Dionicia Abarca, had been arrested in Alabama and was with his 17-year-old nephew at the time of his arrest.

The nephew told investigators that he had picked up his uncle from the property on Small Farm Road and believed he had done something wrong because he was acting strangely.

Investigators said Abarca was charged with second degree Unlawful Imprisonment by law enforcement in Alabama after they say he threatened his 17-year-old nephew and wouldn’t let him stop.

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said investigators traveled to Alabama to interview Abarca and they have obtained warrants charging him with murder.

Abarca is charged with her murder.

Detectives with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office drove to Baldwin County and arrested Abarca for murder.  Abarca waived extradition and was transported back to South Carolina. 

The driver of the vehicle was released to go back to South Carolina. 


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