Missing New Jersey Mom Found Dead, Husband Charged: Prosecutors

Authorities in New Jersey say they've found the body of a woman who was reported missing three weeks ago, and her husband has been charged in her death.

Police found 32-year-old Karla Jose Villagra Garzon's body inside an abandoned house on Southern Boulevard in Chatham Township in Morris County late Tuesday, about 11 miles away from her Elizabeth home, prosecutors say. 

Garzon, the mother of a 2-year-old child, was reported missing by her husband, Abayuba Rivas, 39, on Feb. 23. Rivas told police she left their home on East Jersey Street to walk to a local pharmacy and never returned.

Neighbors say they had always been suspicious of that account.

"They've got two cars. How's she going to walk away that late at night?" said Diana Giraldo. 

Giraldo described Garzon as a "very nice person" and "a very, very lovely mom." 

"We are in shock," she said.

Giraldo said there was never any indication Rivas was violent. 

An autopsy revealed Garzon died of asphyxiation, with blunt force trauma contributing as a factor, authorities said. 

Rivas has been arrested on charges of first-degree murder and other offenses. Bail has been set at $2 million, prosecutors say. 

Attorney information for Rivas was not available. 

-- Michael George contributed to this report. 

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