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Remains found near Hinton in April 2015 identified

Veranda Flores

Veranda Flores

HINTON — Remains of a woman found along Interstate 40 near Hinton in April 2015 have been identified, and the trucker who last saw her alive is charged with dumping her body.

The woman was identified through DNA testing as Veranda Flores, 24, on Aug. 30, court records show.

Juan Manuel Gonzalez Jr., 40, of Glendale, Ariz., was charged Friday in Caddo County District Court with one felony count of unlawful removal of a body.

Flores was reported missing from New Mexico on Dec. 21, 2014. Her body was found April 7, 2015, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Using cellphone records, investigators tracked down Gonzalez because his phone number was the only number in her phone outside her area code on the night she went missing, according to the affidavit.

Gonzalez told investigators he was working for a Phoenix trucking company at the time and had driven to Albuquerque to pick up a load that same day. He said he also picked up an internet prostitute whose name he couldn't remember and dropped her off a few hours later, the affidavit states.

Both of their cellphones received data from the same cellphone towers in New Mexico, but her phone pinged at the same location an hour later, indicating her phone had possibly been thrown from the vehicle, according to the affidavit.

When Gonzalez returned from his run to Missouri, he abruptly quit without explanation, his employer told detectives.

Gonzalez treated his reported bone disease by taking 12 to 14 ibuprofen with alcohol that night, which he said caused a memory lapse regarding where he dropped Flores off, the affidavit states.

Recovered GPS data showed Gonzalez traveling on the stretch of I-40 where Flores' body was found, but that it had taken nearly an extra hour to drive the distance between the last two recorded points.

No traffic or accidents were reported at that time or location that would have explained the delay, according to the affidavit.

Gonzalez was arrested Friday at his Glendale apartment, according to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

He awaits extradition to Oklahoma.

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