Arizona Man Accused of Murdering Girlfriend, Found in California with Victim’s Body in Trunk

An Arizona resident, Richard Paul Rodriguez, 34, is facing murder charges following the discovery of his girlfriend’s body in the trunk of her car, which was found at his parents’ home in California. The victim, Christi Lynn Romero, 54, had recently filed a protection order against Rodriguez, with whom she shared a mobile home.

The case came to light on Monday when Holbrook police responded to a missing person report at the couple’s shared residence. Upon arrival, officers found signs of forced entry, with the door appearing to have been kicked in. Neither Romero nor her car were at the location.

Rodriguez had been served with a protection order and was removed from the residence on November 2nd. Holbrook Police Chief Nathan Christensen stated that they had been called in by the Navajo County constable to assist in serving the order and removing Rodriguez from the premises.

Following his removal, Rodriguez had reportedly been staying at a local mission for the homeless. However, staff at the mission informed police that he had not been seen for several days. This led to the police issuing a nationwide “Attempt to Locate” bulletin for Romero, Rodriguez, and her vehicle.

Using cellphone location data, authorities tracked Rodriguez’s movements along Interstate 10 towards California. Surveillance footage from a gas station confirmed Rodriguez’s presence in Romero’s car, but Romero herself was not seen.

Rodriguez eventually arrived at his parents’ home in Huntington Beach, California. His father contacted 911 after Rodriguez warned him not to open the car’s trunk. Responding officers discovered Romero’s body in the trunk of the car.

Romero’s family expressed their devastation, describing her as a “loving and caring woman” and stating that her loss has deeply affected them.

Rodriguez is currently in custody in California and may face additional charges, including kidnapping, burglary, aggravated assault, and vehicle theft. Local authorities are collaborating with the Huntington Beach Police Department and have informed the FBI about the ongoing investigation.