An Oxnard man suspected of killing his wife last year in Montecito by running her down with a vehicle was in court this week to face murder charges, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office.
Jose Roberto MunozSanchez, 39, was named in a criminal complaint and arrest warrant issued in October 2022 in the death of Blanca Aguilera, 33.
MunozSanchez turned himself in on Friday at the U.S.-Mexico border, and subsequently was taken into custody by Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s deputies, said Senior Deputy District Attorney Hannah Meyer.
He is charged with first-degree homicide, plus criminal enhancements alleging serious and violent murder.
MunozSanchez appeared Monday before Superior Court Judge Thomas Adams for an arraignment hearing, Meyer said, and was ordered to return to court on Oct. 30 for further proceedings.
MunozSanchez remained in custody Tuesday at Santa Barbara County Jail, with bail set at $2 million.
In the early morning hours on Sept. 29, 2022, sheriff’s deputies responded to the 800 block of East Mountain Drive to a report of a woman heard screaming.
They found Aguilera with major injuries in the roadway. She was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where she died about two hours later, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Detectives previously said they believe that Aguilera — who also went by the last name Espinoza — was intentionally hit by MunozSanchez.
According to a GoFundMe page set up to pay for burial expenses and benefit her family, Aguilera was the single mother of three boys, ages 16, 12 and 8.
“Sadly and tragically, she was kidnapped by her ex while she was leaving work late at night on 9/28/2022,” according to the GoFundMe page. “She was found by police on 9/29/2022 severely injured and unfortunately passed away at the hospital due to her injuries.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, the GoFundMe had raised $16,465 of a $20,000 goal.
The 800 block of East Mountain Drive is near the Cold Spring trailhead and residential homes in the foothills of Montecito.