Cadaver-dog evidence helps convict husband of murdering his wife in 1990

In what is being billed as a possible first-of-its-kind case, at least in Illinois, a jury has convicted a man of first-degree murder, despite the lack of a body, due in part to evidence provided by cadaver dogs.

Aurelio Montano, 58, was found guilty Wednesday of killing his wife, Maria Guadalupe Montano, in July 1990. Prosecutors say he strangled her, then buried her body on a horse farm in Kane County. Eventually, he dug the body up and destroyed it, perhaps using a wood chipper, they contend. However, his sister testified that she saw his wife’s body rolled up in a rug at that time, reports the Chicago Tribune.

His daughter, now 33, says she was taken by her father for an overnight with relatives on July 7, 1990, then told the next day her mother had left with another man. However, Maribel Montano Barajas said her mother’s handbag and identification were still in the family’s home.

A cadaver dog handler gave expert testimony that the animals alerted to both human remains and a rug found at the Naperville-area horse farm.

Montano’s public defender argued that his daughter’s testimony wasn’t reliable, because she was a child at the time of the crime.

He is already serving a life sentence for two other homicides. An earlier Chicago Tribune article provides additional details and says police took another look at the Maria Guadalupe Montano after the couple’s daughter approached them in 2006. With the passage of time, witnesses at that point were more willing to talk, the article says.

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