Jose Villagomez

A second man has been arrested in connection with the physical and sexual assault of Santa Maria resident Marilyn Pharis, who died eight days after the attack.

Santa Maria Police detectives early Wednesday announced the arrest of the second suspect, Jose Villagomez, 20, of Santa Maria.

The assault occurred July 24 at the 64-year-old victim’s residence in the 900 block of North Dejoy Street.

Pharis suffered severe injuries during the assault, and was taken to Marian Regional Medical Center. She died Aug. 1.

The day of the attack, police arrested Victor Aureliano Martinez, 29, after he allegedly fled the Dejoy Street residence, and broke into another house in the 1000 block of West Donovan Road, about five blocks north of Dejoy Street. He was later captured by police.

He was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on July 24 on suspicion of attempted murder, sexual assault and residential burglary.

Villagomez was arrested July 28 on unrelated charges, and is currently in custody at County Jail, police said Wednesday.

On Tuesday, detectives booked him on suspicion of sexual assault and attempted murder in connection with the attack on Pharis.

“Investigators do not believe there are any outstanding suspects involved in this case,” police added.

The Santa Barbara County Coroner’s Office is expected to review the cause of Pharis’s death to determine if it was related to the attack.

Depending on the coroner’s findings, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office could file murder charges against the men. 

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Janene Scully | Noozhawk North County Editor

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at