What to Know
- Marta Haydee Rodriguez, 28, disappeared from Arlington in 1989.
- Rodriguez's ex-husband has been accused in her disappearance. He is currently in prison for the death of Pamela Butler.
- Rodriguez's ex-husband buried Butler's body along I-95 in Stafford County. Rodriguez's remains were found along the same stretch in 1991.
Derrick Butler was relentless in pushing D.C. police to find his sister Pamela’s killer. Now, he is channeling that same determination to bring healing to another family.
Dateline NBC recently chronicled Derrick Butler's eight years of persistence that resulted in the arrest and conviction of his sister's onetime boyfriend Jose Rodriguez-Cruz.
Rodriguez-Cruz is serving 12 years in prison for the death of Pamela Butler, a Washington, D.C., federal worker who disappeared before Valentine's Day in 2009.
Part of what led to police cracking Pamela’s case: The 1989 death of Marta Haydee Rodriguez, Rodriguez-Cruz's ex-wife.
Her remains were found along I-95 in Stafford County in 1991 -- a few miles from where Rodriguez-Cruz would tell prosecutors he buried Pamela Butler years later.
But police were not able to identify the remains as Rodriguez until 2018.
Police began investigating Rodriguez-Cruz in connection with Rodriguez's disappearance in 2017.
Rodriguez told police her husband assaulted and kidnapped her.
In court documents, he was quoted as saying, "If I can't have her, no one will."
She disappeared before she was able to testify against him in court.
Police said last year that charges were pending in Rodriguez's death, but it remains unclear whether Rodriguez-Cruz remains a suspect in the case.
“Here we are 2019 and they still haven’t done anything about it. Thirty years later," Derrick Butler said.
Rodriguez's son believes his father, Rodriguez-Cruz, killed his mother.
“It’s difficult to reconcile that part of me with the fact that someone that’s supposed to be near and dear to me could have committed something so heinous, but, at the end of the day, the truth is the truth no matter what,” he said. He did not want to be identified.
Derrick Butler recently met with the Stafford County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office.
“One of the things that I really wanted him to know is that, you know, this is a person of color that went missing, and too often we don’t do anything about it," he said.
“There’s that fear, that worry that it might just be swept under the rug because it’s an old case, but I think she deserves justice,” Rodriguez's son said.
Rodriguez-Cruz confessed to killing Butler and told police he buried her in the median strip between the northbound and southbound lanes of I-95 in Stafford County.
Last year, police searched between mile marker 147 and mile marker 140 along I-95, but they eventually determined that Butler's remains were not recoverable.