Wife of missing man found dead in Columbus arrested

Angela Chavez has not been charged with her husband‘s death, but many in the community question her involvement.
Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 11:13 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - New details have emerged on a death investigation involving a man reported missing 24-hours before his body was found in Columbus. The victim’s wife has since been arrested.

She’s not charged with his death, but the Muscogee County coroner says there are still many questions about what happened and how the man - who was confined to a wheelchair - died.

Muscogee County’s coroner says Angela Chavez told investigators drugs were involved right before he went missing. Investigators also say the victim’s body was purple from the breast up, indicating a heart attack.

53-year-old Victor Chavez was first reported missing Tuesday. Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan says his wife Angela made the report. Police say he was last seen on Bay Avenue near Whitewater Express. But, his body was found Wednesday in a heavily wooded area on a dead end street at 16th street and 5th avenue.

“We did that external examination. We didn’t find any trauma or evidence of foul play,” said Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan. “He did have a purple line from his breast up, which indicates a cardiac issue.”

Bryan says the wife told investigators she and her husband had done drugs the day she reported him missing.

“Crack cocaine, I think was being smoked by him and his wife and possibly another person that provided the drugs,” said Bryan.

“Doing drugs? Yeah, investigate that. I mean, even if it was the other way around, you know -- the wife comes up dead -- you know, the husband is the first suspect,” said Columbus resident Benjamin Mitchell.

Though Victor was reportedly wheelchair bound, investigators did not find his wheelchair by his body. The coroner says it was actually by the Riverwalk. Though police have not charged Angela with her husband’s death, neighbors question her involvement.

“Columbus PD interrogated the lady and I believe she admitted it, you know, basically it was sort of a staged event,” said Bryan. “She showed them a drag mark where she tried to drag the body out of the woods.”

Angela’s other charges include willful obstruction of law enforcement officers, crossing state or county guard lines with weapons, intoxicants and drugs without consent.

“It’s pretty tough on everybody involved since a lot of us are concerned about a man being missing and then found out that it was a false report -- just really not good,” said Bryan.

Victor’s body has been sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in Decatur for an autopsy. The coroner says it could be months before the cause of death is determined due to delays at the GBI. The victim’s wife, Angela will appear in Columbus Recorder’s court Friday at 9 a.m.

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