Husband sentenced for wife's 1978 disappearance

Apr 16, 2015 5:35 PM by News Staff

A man convicted of killing his wife and disposing of her body in 1978 was sentenced to four years in prison Thursday.

In March, 63-year-old Marvin Owens admitted to strangling his wife Deborah Owens in a fit of rage.

His wife Deborah Owens was last seen Nov. 19, 1978, at her family's home in Oroville, and Butte County investigators long suspected Marvin Owens of killing her and disposing of her body. The body has never been found, but Owens has reportedly told investigators he buried his wife in a shallow grave in the Oroville Wildlife Area.

On Thursday victim impact statements were heard inside a Butte County Courtroom. Debbie Owen's sister asked Owen's to lead investigators to the body, while his two daughters told him his lies and abuse have scarred them for more than 30 years. "You told me my mom ran off and I hoped she was happy, but I wanted a mom" one of his daughters said.

When Owen's was arrested in February, Butte County Investigators believed he may be connected to the February 1978 disappearance of Essie Margarette Hiett. A waitress and bartender in Oroville, who was last seen driving home following a night shift around 2:00 a.m. on Feb. 13, 1978. Investigators say he is no longer a suspect in the case.

The four year sentence is the maximum penalty Owen's could receive with the voluntary manslaughter charge.

Action News Now Reporter Cecile Juliette was in court today and will have a full report tonight at 5 and 6 p.m.

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