Murder charges for ex-boyfriend in case of DC woman missing 8 years

WASHINGTON — Police have arrested and charged the ex-boyfriend of a D.C. woman who went missing without a trace eight years ago.

Pamela Butler was last seen Feb. 12, 2009. (Courtesy Metro PD)

Jose Rodriguez-Cruz, 51, of Fairfax, was cuffed and taken into custody early Saturday for his connection with the disappearance of Pamela Butler, who vanished outside her Northwest D.C. home.

He was busted in Arlington, Virginia, by the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force and waived extradition.

Rodriguez-Cruz was charged with first-degree murder after being taken into custody in D.C.

At a news conference outside police headquarters, acting Police Chief Peter Newsham credited a “fresh set of eyes” on the cold case for the department’s ability to pursue an arrest and charges.

“In February of this year, Detective Michael Fulton of our cold case unit re-engaged on this case, had contact with the family, evaluated all of the evidence that we had on the case,” Newsham said. “But he looked at the case with a fresh set of eyes. He was able to determine some additional information, which suggested a troubled history of domestic violence” for Rodriguez-Cruz.

Newsham said Detective Fulton was able to piece the new information together alongside evidence that had already been collected to obtain a warrant for first-degree murder.

“It’s our belief that this is a domestic violence case, but we can’t get into the specifics at this time,” Newsham said.

Pamela Butler’s brother, Derrick Butler, also spoke at the news conference.

“We’re happy that this is now coming to and end,” he said. “It feels good to know that someone’s actually going to pay for it now.”

He hugged Newsham after addressing the crowd.

For Mayor Muriel Bowser, it shows that D.C. police don’t quit.

“What I think is important is that the community knows that MPD never stops pursuing cold cases,” Bowser said. “We hope that it will bring closure to her family and friends and justice to us all.”

Butler’s family said they were relieved but not surprised by the arrest of Rodriguez-Cruz.

“We got an arrest and that’s what we’ve been wanting since day one. We knew it from day one. He did it,” Derrick Butler said.

Butler’s mother Thelma still feels the pain of losing her daughter.

“She was a loving, caring person [and there was] nothing that she wouldn’t do for me.”

Pamela Butler, who was an Environmental Protection Agency analyst, was last seen Feb. 12, 2009.

She was 47 at the time of her disappearance.

Her body has yet to be found.

Butler was declared dead in August.

Newsham took time to thank the police department’s cold case unit and the Butler family.

WTOP’s Dick Uliano contributed to this report.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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