Oroville cold case suspect admits to strangling wife

Mar 19, 2015 11:58 AM by News Staff

A 62-year-old man charged in the 1978 disappearance of his wife entered a guilty plea in Butte County Thursday morning.

Marvin Owens' defense attorneys and the Butte County District Attorney's Office say he has admitted to strangling his wife Deborah Owens in a fit of rage in 1978.

Owens plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter, and now faces up to four years in prison. He will be sentenced on April 16.

Butte County investigators long suspected Marvin Owens of killing his wife 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.

Owens was arrested last month in Nebraska and charged Deborah's murder. Owens reported her missing on Nov. 21, 1978, saying he last saw her at the couples Oroville home on Crestridge Drive.

Investigators say Owens is no longer a suspect in the disappearance and suspected death of Essie Margarette Hiett, who was last seen in February of 1978, but say one of his relatives is considered a person of interest in the case.

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