30 year missing woman case reopened when body is found; ends in - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

30 year missing woman case reopened when body is found; ends in suspect's sudden death

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YAKIMA, WA - A case that has been cold for nearly 30 years has been reopened, following a fatal van vs. semi collision.

A young girl went missing in 1988 and was officially reported as a missing person in 1992, and now, nearly 30 years later, Yakima County Sheriff's Office has found her remains but haven't found her justice yet.

"Back on May the 18th, the Sheriff's Office was called out to a site in the Gleed area, where some people that were involved had uncovered some bones that they believed to be human," said Mike Russell, PIO for the Yakima County Sheriff's Office.

And those bones belonged to Samantha Rios, the woman who had been missing for almost three decades.

"This has been devastating for a lot of people, you know," Russell told reporter Haley Gibbs. "I mean, it's nearly thirty years old and now all of a sudden it's opened up a very large wound."

And once this old wound was opened up, so was the case. For years, Samantha's husband, Jose Maciel, was considered a suspect.

"Investigators received information throughout the years that Jose was telling people things, including confessing to some people that he had killed Samantha," explained Russell.

But the Yakima Sheriff's Office say that the people who heard these things from Jose were either unavailable or unwilling to talk, so there was never enough evidence to book him, until they found Samantha's body. They were finally planning to question Jose Maciel last Thursday.

"In the afternoon on Thursday, just before the person was supposed to have met with the detective, he died in a head-on car crash with a semi in the Benton County area," Russell informed us.

And though the Sheriff's Office cannot confirm that this car crash was intentional, they say that's what the evidence seems to point to, leaving justice for Samantha unserved.

"As bad as this seems, sounds, is that I'm happy," Samantha's mother, Dixie Rosales, admitted. "And then I was mad and then I was sad because I always wanted him to stand trial, I wanted him to have to face her family, I wanted that day in court. And he took that away."

Detectives are still working on this case in hopes of finding that justice for Samantha and her family, while her family works on coming up with the funding to fly Samantha's body home and give her the proper ceremony she deserves. You can help her family accomplish this by donating to their GoFundMe page, just follow this link: https://www.gofundme.com/samanthajacobs.

To learn more about the van vs. semi collision that took Jose Maciel's life, you can read our earlier article: Man involved in semi crash last week was a suspect in murder case.