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Remains of Jovita Collazo found after 23 years

jovita collazo
Jovita Collazo

UPDATE:  Richardson pleaded guilty to all three murders in 2013 to avoid the death penalty, and was sentenced to six consecutive life sentences. He is currently housed in Centinela state prison in Imperial County.

Jovita Collazo was 38-years-old when she went missing in April of 1992 from National City, Calif. located in San Diego County.

Michael Richardson was Collazo’s former boyfriend and authorities named him a person of interest in her disappearance.  In 1974, Richardson had been convicted of robbery after shooting a cabdriver in North Carolina, reports the San Diego Union Tribune.  He escaped from prison six years later, and had been evading the police every since, until he was convicted of murdering his wife and her mother in a staged car accident in 2010, when they were found in a car that had went down an embankment on Route 67 north in Lakeside.  An autopsy showed Than Lyi’s throat had been cut and her daughter was suffocated.  In 2012, he admitted to killing Collazo, but he never divulged where her body was.  Richardson was sentenced to six life sentences in 2013, but where was Collazo’s body?

Michael Richardson

Back to  Oct 31, 1994, a rock hunter from Victorville found a skeleton in a shallow grave in Apple Valley near Stoddard Wells Road.  There was no DNA back there and the remains were buried in a county cemetery as a Jane Doe.

In 2006, John and Jane Doe’s were being exhumed to take DNA samples. The authorities were working feverishly to finally put a name to all these unnamed people and bring some answers to their family’s.   It wasn’t till 2008 before they got to Collazo’s remains but there was no match for her in the database as her family had not provided any.

Sgt. David Bavencoff began working on Collazo’s case in 2010 and he asked the Collazo’s family for DNA samples.  Finally in 2015 they were confirmed to belong to Collazo.

Although Richardson’s was already in jail and serving time for her murder what mattered most was that the family finally knows what happened to their missing loved one.

“All those years of wondering,” said Michael Collazo.  “At least we know now.”

Is there a connection between Michael Eugene Richardson and Charles Merritt?

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