IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

'Help us bring my sister home': Family pleads for help in locating body of missing Chula Vista mom Maya Millete as police announce husband's arrest

The 39-year-old mother of three was last seen alive at her Chula Vista home on January 7, 2021.

Larry Millete, the husband of missing California mother of three May "Maya" Millete, has been arrested for her murder, more than nine months after she vanished from the family's Chula Vista home, authorities said on Tuesday.

“Today, the Chula Vista Police Department is announcing the arrest of Larry Millete for the murder of his wife, May,” Chula Vista Police announced in a news release on Tuesday.

Later in the afternoon, Chula Vista Police Chief Roxana Kennedy, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan joined the family for a press conference.

Wearing purple ribbons to raise awareness for domestic violence awareness month, authorities provided more details on the arrest, starting with the news that at 11:42 a.m., Chula Vista SWAT team had placed Larry Millete under arrest at his home and took him into custody. That news prompted cheers from the crowd of supporters.

“The primary goal was to bring May back to her family, or bring justice to the person or persons responsible for her disappearance,” Kennedy said.

May "Maya" Millete
May "Maya" MilleteMaricris Drouaillet

May, who was known to family and friends as Maya, had been working as a defense contractor at Naval Base San Diego, was last seen alive on January 7, 2021, at the family’s home in Chula Vista where she lived with her husband Larry and their three children -- then aged 4, 9 and 11.

Her family spoke to Dateline at the end of January, saying Maya had disappeared just two days before the family was set to travel to Big Bear for one of the children’s birthdays.

Since Maya's disappearance, there have been multiple searches in the area, often led by Maya's sister, Maricris Drouaillet, who, along with her husband, Richard, have been relentless in their efforts to locate Maya.

“We just don’t know where to look or what to do next,” Richard told Dateline in January. “We just pray for the day we hear her voice again,” his wife Maricris added.

At Tuesday’s press conference, the police chief said 67 search warrants had been served, 87 interviews conducted and 130 tips reviewed, with thousands of hours poured into the investigation into Maya’s disappearance.

“These efforts ultimately generated a variety of pieces of evidence that have become clear and overwhelming,” Kennedy said. “Larry Millete, May’s husband, is responsible for May’s murder and disappearance.”

Kennedy added that the arrest was a step toward justice but that it was not the end of the investigation.

“A mother is gone and a family is broken and a community is left with questions and confusion,” she said. Kennedy turned to Maya’s family and directly spoke to them saying, “I pray every day that we find May and give closure to your family.”

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced that Larry Millete faces two charges: murder and illegal possession of an assault rifle.

“Sometimes missing person's cases remain unsolved, but as the evidence unfolded in this case, meticulously and carefully, block-by-block, it pointed in one direction. May was murdered,” Stephan said. “The only thing we can do in the face of this senseless violence is to bring justice.”

Providing a brief synopsis of the evidence against Larry, Stephan released details from the unsealed portion of the arrest warrant, starting with the fact that Maya wanted a divorce for “many reasons,” but that Larry would not allow it.

“In homicide cases, there is often a triggering event," Stephan said. "In this case, on Jan. 7, 2021, May was no longer talking about divorce. She took that step, and the last call recorded that May made was to a divorce attorney. She did not make any further calls.”

Stephan said she is hoping that with Larry in custody, people will no longer be fearful of coming forward with information.

New details were revealed Tuesday, including that authorities believe Larry used a black Lexus to transport Maya’s body on January 8, 2021. They are asking the public to call police if they believe they saw the vehicle in the area that day.

Another detail revealed for the first time was the fact that in 2020 Larry had been visiting “spellcasters” — people purporting to wield magical powers of persuasion — in an effort to make Maya want to stay in the relationship.

“I’ve never had a case where that was involved ... but as December of 2020 came, those messages to spellcasters were a lot more threatening,” Stephan said. “He was asking for May to become incapacitated, for May to be in an accident, to have broken bones so that she could stay at home, thus displaying his homicidal ideations to harm May.”

Stephan added that Maya had scheduled an appointment with a divorce lawyer on January 12, but never made it. The last recorded activity on her phone was on January 8.

Larry Millete, the husband of May "Maya" Millete was arrested for her murder on October 19, 2021. Investigators released more details during a press conference following Millete's arrest Tuesday.
Larry Millete, the husband of May "Maya" Millete was arrested for her murder on October 19, 2021. Investigators released more details during a press conference following Millete's arrest Tuesday.Chula Vista Police Department

In July, Larry Millete had been named a “person of interest” in the case and denied any involvement in his wife’s disappearance.

He has been booked into the San Diego County Jail on no bond and is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday.

Maya’s sister, Maricris, broke down in tears at the press conference Tuesday, after the announcement of the charges against her brother-in-law.

“It’s hard to go against family,” she said of Larry. “He’s been with us for 20 years. My sister loved him. She gave him three kids.”

Maricris also thanked the authorities and the community and made a promise to Maya’s children: to find their mother’s body.

“This is still not the end,” she said. “We have a long way to go. We’re still asking the public please help us bring my sister home. I just want to see my sister.”

Chula Vista Police say the “investigation continues to be ongoing and anyone who may have any information regarding Maya’s disappearance is asked to please contact San Diego County Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477, or CVPD at 619-691-5151. No matter how small the detail, we ask the public to share that information with investigators or Crime Stoppers.”