Hidalgo Co. Sheriff's Office Links Remains Found in Septic Tank to Suspect in 12-Year-Old Murder Case

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EDINBURG – The remains found inside a septic tank at an Edcouch home were linked to a suspect in a 12-year-old murder case, according to the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators with the sheriff’s department and Hidalgo County Precinct 1 combed through a home in Mile 4 W Road and Dallas Street late July after obtaining a search warrant on the property.

Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said a private company specializing in removal of hazardous waste aided in the recovery of the remains. The remains are believed to be of a woman.

Guerra said they identified the property owner, 40-year-old Aristeo Cervantes Jr., who is already serving a 12-year sentence in a Beeville prison for the stabbing of his wife in November 2015. 

When investigators questioned Cervantes, he confessed to murdering a female and dumping her body inside a septic tank in 2004 after a dispute. Investigators believe drugs were involved. Cervantes said he didn't know the woman. 

The crime was committed on the same address, said Guerra.

"No we weren't surprised. The only violent act was where he stabbed his current wife there. Mr. Cervantes does have a criminal history dating back to 1997 on aggravated assault causing bodily injury, driving while intoxicated, theft, failure to ID," the sheriff said. 

In a press conference Thursday, Guerra said investigators found the discovery of the remains consistent with Cervantes’ confession. 

After an autopsy was performed on the remains, forensic pathologist Jean Farley determined the female was stabbed to death.

At this time, the sheriff’s office is looking into missing persons reports within the time frame of Cervantes’ crime to identify the remains. The skeletal remains have also been submitted for DNA testing.

Cervantes is eligible for parol in 2020 for his 12-year sentence. An arrest warrant for murder was issued for this case. 

The investigation is ongoing. 

Anyone with information in this case can call Hidalgo County Crime Stoppers at 956-668-8477. 

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