Missing Woman Found Dead After Casino Party

A Spokane County Medical Examiner autopsy has confirmed that the body found in a sleeping bag in a remote area of the state of Washington is Yanira Cedillos, the woman who went missing on March 3, 2022. Cedillos was last seen celebrating her 30th birthday at Papa’s Casino in Moses Lake together with a few of her friends. Her ex-boyfriend and former roommate Juan Gastelum allegedly picked Cedillos in his car while she was leaving the premises and drove her home. Gastelum is now facing murder charges related to her death.

Frantic Search for the Missing Woman

The search for the woman began shortly after her sudden disappearance at the beginning of March, as a result of her family reporting a missing person file with the police, and shortly after the woman failed to show up for work the following day. Her family, friends, and the authorities joined efforts and spent more than two months looking for Cedillos, but to no avail.

Juan Gastelum had allegedly called and messaged Cedillos several times while she was still at Papa’s Casino with her friends, according to police information. While the woman was leaving the casino to return home at the end of the evening, Gastelum picked her up in his vehicle and drove her to her apartment. They both went in, according to the same report issued by the police. While inside the apartment, Gastelum allegedly killed Cedillos and moved her body to a remote location nearby the Walla Junction.

Cell Phone Data Helped Discover the Body

Last week, new information from a private company that handles cell phone investigations emerged, helping with the investigation. ZETX Advancing Justice informed the Moses Lake Police authorities that they had data obtained cell phone data belonging to the main suspect’s device. The respective data showed his phone was in Walla Walla County for a few minutes on March 4, when the woman was reported missing. The county is located approximately 86 miles south of Moses Lake.

An Autopsy Confirmed the Missing Woman’s Identity

On Thursday, the police searched the indicated area and found the body of a deceased woman in a sleeping bag. An autopsy later confirmed the body belonged to Cedillos. The Grant County Prosecutor’s Office is now getting ready to get 27-year-old Gastelum’s conviction. He is also facing a second-degree murder count and a second-degree rape count. He will remain in the Umatilla County Jail in Oregon and his bail has been set at $1 million. Gastelum is likely to appear for an extradition hearing in June.

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