CHEROKEE CO., SC (WSPA) – Cherokee County deputies say a man has been arrested in connection with the death of a woman whose body was found partially buried in a cornfield near Gaffney Sunday.
According to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, 42-year-old Dionicia Nava Abarca was arrested early Sunday morning in Baldwin County, Alabama.
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.
The sheriff’s office said they are working with law enforcement in Alabama to extradite Abarca back to South Carolina. Deputies said he also has a hold on him for immigration violations.
Abarca is currently being held in the Baldwin County Corrections Center.