Death of Woman in Burning SUV Ruled as Homicide

An autopsy performed on Monday, Nov. 1 determined the cause of her death, but the San Diego Police Department will not disclose details.The identity of the woman has not been established, but the registered owner of the SUV — who is a female resident of Carlsbad — has been missing since the night of the incident.Investigators are trying to locate the estranged husband of the vehicle owner.

The husband is a 50-year-old man named Julio Angel Garcia-Puente, who is 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 170 pounds.Garcia-Puente is currently unemployed and does not have a known vehicle or permanent address. He has been known to frequent the cities of Carlsbad and San Marcos.

“We are not 100 percent sure about the identification and that’s why we have not released the person’s name,” San Diego Police Lieutenant Kevin Rooney said. “If the registered owner of the car is who we think it is, we have not established any connection between her and the university or the hospital on that block.”

Detectives have been staying in contact with the family of the vehicle owner since her disappearance.“Keep in mind the victim is not positively identified,” Rooney said. “Our crime lab will examine familial DNA from a family member to compare to the DNA that was extracted at the autopsy in an attempt to match that from a family point of view to determine if, in fact, it’s the person who’s [the] registered owner of the car.”

The police department has released a photograph of Garcia-Puente and shared it with police departments in North County.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the lead investigating and reporting agency, San Diego Police Department Homicide Unit, at (619) 531-2293.

Readers can contact Regina Ip at [email protected].