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Man charged with murder in case of missing Los Lunas woman

Arthur Lovato, 59 (NMSP)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — More than seven months after 49-year-old Rita Jaramillo was reported missing in Los Lunas, State Police have arrested a suspect and charged him with murder.

Arthur Lovato, 59, was served with an arrest warrant Monday. He is locked up at the Western New Mexico Correctional Facility in Grants in an unrelated matter, according to a State Police spokesman.

According to a post on Facebook by one of the victim’s daughters, Lovato was Jaramillo’s ex-boyfriend.

It was not immediately clear whether Jaramillo’s body has been found.

Documents related to the case have been sealed, including the arrest warrant affidavit.

“In order to protect information contained in the arrest warrant that could compromise the investigation, investigators have sealed the arrest warrant for Lovato, until the investigation is complete and has been provided to the district attorney for prosecution,” officer Ray Wilson said. “Once the seal has been lifted more information about the details of the case that led to the arrest of Lovato will be released.”

Rita Jaramillo, 49

Wilson said that on Sept. 23, 2018, Valencia County Sheriff’s deputies were called to Jaramillo’s home on San Luis Rey Place in the El Cerro Mission District of Los Lunas. He said the trailer had been burned and her daughters told deputies they had not heard from Jaramillo in three days.

“Valencia County detectives had reason to believe there was foul play involved, so Jaramillo was listed as missing and the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau was contacted to investigate the case,” Wilson wrote in a news release.

The State Police Investigation Bureau began working the case on Oct. 1 and after a monthslong investigation, zeroed in on Lovato as a suspect.

He is charged with first-degree murder and three counts of tampering with evidence.

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