A woman has been apprehended after the remains of a man, who had been missing since 2014, were found in a makeshift tomb in California, police say.
San Bernardino Homicide detectives were alerted to reports of possible human remains at a home in the city on Tuesday, August 23.
The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NAMUS) described the number of missing and unidentified people in the U.S. as “the nation’s silent mass disaster.”
It added that every year 600,000 people in the country go missing and 4,400 unidentified bodies are located.
Investigators obtained enough information to get a warrant to search the home in the 1400 Block of E. Davidson Street.
A police spokesperson said in a September 6 Facebook post: “During the service of the search warrant, investigators observed what appeared to be a makeshift tomb on the property. Investigators entered the makeshift tomb and located human remains inside.”
Investigators learned Trista Spicer, 43, and Eric Mercado, whose remains had been found, lived at the home together.
Police added Mercado had been reported missing by his family in 2014 and had not been seen since.
The police statement continued: “Based on evidence collected by homicide detectives, it was determined that Spicer was responsible for the murder of Mercado and an arrest warrant was issued for her.”
SBPD investigators located and arrested Spicer in Yucaipa, 10 miles east of San Bernardino, on September 2. She was booked into a local jail and charged with murder.
An investigation into the death has since been launched and police have asked anyone with information to call detectives at 909-384-5762 or 909-384-5613.
Newsweek has contacted the SBPD for comment.
There have been numerous occasions this year alone where human remains have been located.
Several human remains were discovered at Lake Mead this year after water levels in the reservoir dropped due to an ongoing drought that has blighted the U.S. southwest.
So, far five sets of human remains have been located and work has begun to identify each of the bodies.
Last month, a body found near Callville Bay on May 7 was identified by the Clark County Medical Examiner via DNA analysis as being Thomas Erndt who drowned in August 2002, aged 42.
His son Tom, who was 10 at the time, said he thought his dad was playing a prank on the family.
The family had taken a boat out to Callville Bay to camp on the shore and swim in the lake’s midnight waters.
He told KSNV: “He was a big joker and stuff too. At first, it was like, ‘Oh, I’m drowning hahaha,’ kind of thing, right? And it turned into screaming and yelling, and ‘I need help.'”