Va. man accused of killing missing DC woman must remain in jail

WASHINGTON — A Fairfax, Virginia, man has been ordered to stay in jail on charges that he killed a D.C. woman who was his girlfriend at the time, even though her body has not been found.

Jose Rodriguez-Cruz was arrested and charged with first-degree murder earlier this month in connection to the death of Pamela Butler, who vanished without a trace in 2009 and was declared dead last summer.

At his preliminary hearing Tuesday in D.C. Superior Court, a judge said Rodriguez-Cruz must remain behind bars.

A defense attorney said there are no signs that Butler and Rodriguez-Cruz had a violent relationship, and there’s no evidence that Butler was murdered in her home.

But prosecutors said there’s evidence Rodriguez-Cruz had a violent past with three other women, including his first and second wives.

D.C. detectives found out this year that Rodriguez-Cruz’s first wife has been missing since 1989.

Prosecutors also said surveillance footage of Butler’s home shows two people going in, but only one person — Rodriguez-Cruz — coming out. After Butler is last spotted on the video, Rodriguez-Cruz is seen going in and out of her house 43 times, sometimes carrying bags and cleaning materials.

Outside D.C. Superior Court, Thelma Butler, the mother of Pamela Butler, said she’s not sure what happened to her daughter. “We’re just praying, praying that we get some kind of answer,” she added. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

Outside the courthouse, Butler’s brother, Derrick Butler, said he is pleased that Rodriguez-Cruz has to stay in jail.

“He demonstrated that he’s dangerous and everybody says he’s dangerous. Even the judge said he’s dangerous, so you know, he doesn’t need to be on the streets,” Derrick Butler said.

Butler’s mother, Thelma Butler, said she doesn’t know what happened to her daughter. “But I do know that she’s not with us, and we’re just praying, praying that we get some kind of answer.”

The next court date in the case is scheduled for July 28.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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