A California man arrested in connection to his wife's murder allegedly killed her to prevent her from testifying as a witness in two domestic violence cases against him, prosecutors said.
Anthony Gumina was taken into custody on Friday as detectives searching an area in El Dorado County found the remains of his wife, Heather Gumina, who was reported missing in mid-July.
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
Gumina was initially arrested on bail warrant for domestic violence, the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office said in a statement on their Facebook page. He was later charged with murder after the remains were discovered.
According to a criminal complaint, Heather "was a witness to a crime and was intentionally killed to prevent her from testifying in a criminal proceeding."
Chief Assistant District Attorney, Joe Alexander, told NBC News that the crime was related to two felony domestic violence cases where Heather was the victim.
The complaint states that authorities believe Heather was killed "on or about" July 16, three days before she was reported missing.
Police said in July that Heather disappeared from the Pleasant Valley area about 54 miles east of Sacramento and may have been driving her black 2005 Infiniti coupe. The car was found in August in El Dorado County.
Gumina had prior convictions for possessing and selling methamphetamine, according to NBC affiliate KCRA. He made his first court appearance Tuesday and is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 26.
Minyvonne Burke is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.