THE body of an American woman missing since Christmas has been discovered in a shallow grave in woods in the town of Alzira in Spain’s Valencia region.
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Police suspect that Yana Rose, 40, was beaten to death by her husband, identified by police only as Michael Martin H (MMH), during a Christmas day row on the Costa del Sol.
But MMH, who is now the subject of an international arrest warrant since fleeing Spain and returning to the US, is believed to have driven her body across Spain before burying in a patch of woodland near a hospital in inland Valencia.
The couple had driven over for the holidays from Italy to Spain and had booked into luxury accommodation in Sotogrande, where Rose’s mother spoke to her on Christmas Day.
But subsequent attempts to reach her daughter proved fruitless and when the elderly woman called her son-in-law she was told the couple had had a fight and Rose had gone alone to visit a friend in Valencia.
“My daughter, Yana Rose (Yana Zernova), hasn’t been in touch with me or anyone we know since December 27th. She left after an argument with husband and has not come back since,” read an appeal on Facebook and confirmed to the Olive Press by her mother Natalia.
“Her phone is broken according to her husband. She has been travelling with her husband through Europe since August 2021. December 25th was the last time we talked on the phone and at that moment she and her husband were preparing for Christmas celebration. My daughter is Russian and American citizen, her husband is American.”
However, Rose, who also has Russian nationality, never arrived and that friend reported her missing at her local police station in Abastos on January 9.
When detectives tried to interview the husband about his missing wife they discovered he had driven back to Italy and caught a flight from Milan to Denver, where the couple have a home.
Then they made a shocking discovery.
CCTV footage from the urbanization in Sotogrande showed that on December 27 at 10pm Michael Martin H, a 55-year-old businessman, was caught on camera carrying something very large and lumpy to his car.
GPS data from his hire car which was returned to Milan airport on January 11 revealed that he had spent repeated lengths of time, over several nights, parked up at a patch of woodland in the grounds of a derelict mansion around 200 metres from the hospital in the town of Alzira.
Police began a search of the area and discovered the body, bruised and naked, buried in a shallow grave hidden under fallen branches on Friday, January 21.
A post mortem is being carried out but initial investigations suggest Rosa had been badly beaten about the head and face.
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