NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – A woman accused of helping her husband kill his half-sister and hide the body in a basement for years, is on trial.
Desiree Fransen, also known as Desiree Sanchez, is facing first-degree murder, and unlawful removal of a dead body, for the death of Margarita Sandoval.
Investigators said Sandoval had cognitive disabilities. The 19-year-old’s family stopped hearing from her in 2018, after she moved in with Fransen and her husband, Octavio Sanchez.
“The victim was one of the suspect’s sisters,” Major Jamie Shattuck, with the Norman Police Department, told News 4 back in 2022.
In an interrogation video, jurors heard Fransen tell investigators Sandoval only stayed with the couple but didn’t live there. She needed a place to receive social security checks. Fransen told investigators they helped her get set up and use their address.
Investigators said the couple would continue to get nearly $31,000 dollars in benefits, plus $3,200 in economic impact statements, until Sandoval’s body was found.
In 2021, Norman police got a tip about a dead body, under basement stairs, of a home on Lindsey street. The homeowner, Miguel Munoz, testified he felt threatened by Fransen and Sanchez.
The jury also watched footage of officers spending several minutes trying to get to Margarita’s body in a tote.
The officer said “there was a lot of layers” of tape, plastic wrap, and rope, before hitting brown liquid, bugs, and the smell.
Defense attorneys questioned if officers had the right to check the basement in the first place, since Sanchez was allegedly renting the basement from Munoz. They also pointed out police didn’t have a search warrant at the time. Investigators said at the time they had consent to search from Munoz.
An investigator told the jury police found social security checks and Sandoval’s mail at the Sanchez’s home.
In January, the couple pleaded guilty to stealing the checks in federal court.