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Missing Isabel Rodriguez
Isabel, circa 2001; Jesus Rodriguez
Missing Since 11/13/2001
Classification Endangered Missing
Date of Birth Used 04/26/1962 (58)
Age 39 years old
Height and Weight 5'7, 160 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics Hispanic female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Isabel is a native of Honduras.
Details of Disappearance Isabel was last seen in Miami, Florida on November 13, 2001. The last sighting of her was that morning, when dropped her two daughters off at elementary school. She has never been heard from again. Neighbors reported her missing the next day.
The couple separated in April 2001, and in August, Isabel filed for divorce. On October 29 of that year, she requested a restraining order against Jesus, stating he had threatened to kill her if she got any money from him in the divorce settlement.
Witnesses reported Jesus was extremely angry when he was served with the restraining order on November 1. A hearing about the order was scheduled for the following month, but Isabel had disappeared by then.
Jesus wrote a letter to the judge, saying Isabel had been stealing money from his trucking business and suggesting she left of her own accord. He also stated she had many enemies due to her disrespectful behavior towards others, particularly his employees, and suggested she'd been murdered.
A photograph of Jesus is posted with this case summary. He got temporary custody of the couple's daughters after Isabel's went missing, but his parental rights were later terminated and the girls were placed with a foster family. He also began seeing another woman, also named Isabel, shortly after his wife vanished.
Two women who rented an efficiency from the Rodriguezes saw a man hiding under a truck in Isabel's carport the day she vanished. The witnesses believed the man was Jesus, but couldn't say for sure because they only saw his legs.
Cellular phone records also placed Jesus at Isabel's house on the day of her disappearance, and he himself later admitted he'd been there in violation of the restraining order.
Jesus, who had no prior criminal record, was arrested for Isabel's murder on April 11, 2002, four months after her disappearance. When the police accused him of killing her over jealousy, Jesus responded that they had the motive wrong.
Investigators believe Jesus killed his wife at her home, then partially burned her body at his farm and disposed of it there. Witnesses saw a fire on the farm that day that burned for hours. Extensive searches of the farm, involving infrared cameras and cadaver-sniffing dogs, turned up only a dead cow and a dead goat; there was no sign of Isabel or any human remains.
The first trial, in 2004, was declared a mistrial due to allegations of witness tampering. The second trial was in 2005, but there was another mistrial after Jesus allegedly tried to hire someone to kill his prosecutor.
Jesus was tried for a third time in 2007, six years after Isabel disappeared. His attorneys said there was no proof she was dead, and suggested she had simply returned to Honduras, where she has a son from a prior marriage. However, there's no record of Isabel either leaving the United States or entering Honduras.
Several of Jesus's fellow inmates from jail testified he confessed his wife's murder to them; he allegedly killed her with a baseball bat. Jesus himself referred to Isabel as "worse than the devil" when he testified in his own defense. His girlfriend stated he had scratches on his chest and back after Isabel's disappearance, and his adult daughter from a prior relationship said his nose was scratched.
Jesus was convicted of murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated stalking and burglary in November 2007. He was sentenced to life in prison for the murder and kidnapping, thirty years for the burglary and five years for the stalking.
Isabel's remains have never been found, but foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved.
Investigating Agency / Department