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Police uncover details of slain woman’s life

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LAYTON — In an effort to solve the mystery of Noemi Rodriguez's death, Weber County sheriff's investigators are trying to rebuild the past few weeks of her life.

It is a life that appears to be tied to the man considered a "person of interest" in her death, 33-year-old Gutberto Heras-Corrales.

"They did live together until she'd been burned out of her mobile home," Weber County Sheriff's Capt. Klint Anderson told the Deseret News. "Then she'd been living with her mother and stepfather."

The fire happened Dec. 20 and its cause remains under investigation, Layton Police Lt. Quinn Moyes said. The day before, police were called to Rodriguez's home on a welfare check made by Heras.

"Gutberto was claiming that her three children were left home alone," he said Monday. "Officers made contact with her. Her story was much different. She claims that the children were left with Gutberto in his care."

The children were reported to be OK, but while talking to the couple, police learned about a family fight.

"Both Gutberto and Noemi claimed they were assaulted by the other during an argument that happened five days earlier," Moyes said.

Because there were no witnesses to the fight, the officer wrote up a case to be referred to the Layton city prosecutor's office for any possible charges.

Rodriguez, 26, was found the day after Christmas in the Huntsville Cemetery by a snowplow driver clearing the road to prepare for a burial. The snowplow blade hit something and when the driver went out to check on it, he discovered her frozen body under a pile of snow.

"It appears she was killed right there," Anderson said. "The crime scene itself was quite bloody."

Detectives won't say how Rodriguez was killed. Rodriguez's family was too shaken up to offer any comment on her death, the Weber County Sheriff's Office said Monday. Her stepfather called Layton police on Dec. 27 to report her missing, Moyes said.

"We were able to determine that she was last seen on Christmas Day," he said Monday. "Just after work, she was seen by a family friend."

Searching for clues to her death himself, Rodriguez's stepfather found her Jeep Cherokee on Sunday morning parked at an Ogden motel. Police obtained a search warrant and have been examining it for clues to her death. Anderson said it appears Rodriguez parked her car there but somehow wound up at the cemetery.

Heras is an illegal immigrant with a history of aggravated re-entry into the United States, authorities said.

Police are still searching for the pickup Heras was last seen driving, a 2003 burgundy Ford F-150 with Utah license plate number A969MZ. Anyone who sees him, or has information about Rodriguez's death, is urged to call the Weber County Sheriff's Office at 801-395-8221.

E-mail: bwinslow@desnews.com