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Missing Woman’s Body Found

January 3, 1998 GMT

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Maria Cabuenos left for work one March day and never returned.

Still, her family believed that eventually she would come home. And they maintained that belief even after police arrested a paroled murderer driving her car, even after that man was charged with raping and killing another woman, even after Ms. Cabuenos’ blood was discovered in the trunk of her car.

Now, a New Year’s Day discovery of skeletal remains in a shallow grave has allowed the tightly knit family to begin mourning.

``After all this time, we were still shocked,″ Marian Cabuenos, her 43-year-old sister, said Saturday. ``You can tell me it’s imagination, but we were still hoping someday, somehow, we would find her alive.″

The remains were found Thursday by a man walking his dog in the woods of Tinicum Township. The bones were identified from dental records Friday as the remains of the 25-year-old lab technician. She died of severe blunt trauma to the back of the skull, authorities said.

Among the bones, authorities found a silver ring inscribed with the word ``Intet″ _ a nickname Ms. Cabuenos’ youngest brother coined when he could not pronounce ``Princess,″ an uncle’s favored name for Maria.

Philadelphia homicide investigators scoured the thickly wooded crime scene for more clues Saturday.

On Saturday, Bucks County District Attorney Alan Rubenstein called Arthur Bomar, a paroled killer charged with the murder of college athlete Aimee Willard, ``the obvious suspect.″

Bomar was driving Ms. Cabuenos’ car when he was arrested in June for an unrelated burglary, and a search of Bomar’s trailer turned up a watch that relatives said belonged to Ms. Cabuenos. Bomar told police he bought the car from a stranger.

``He has a track record, he has a history and he was in her car,″ Rubenstein said.

Before he can pursue charges, he said, investigators must determine whether Ms. Cabuenos was killed in Bucks County or was simply dumped there. Bomar, 38, already is charged with murder, kidnapping and rape in the murder of Ms. Willard, 22. He has denied the charges.

Since Maria Cabuenos vanished, her 10 brothers and sisters had driven her 35-minute route to work in Montgomery County over and over. They went up and down the expressway to Atlantic City, a place Bomar was believed to frequent. They searched side streets for her body.

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And more times than Marian Cabuenos can count on her fingers, they turned to psychics _ who all told the family Maria was gone.

``The family is Catholic and we are very religious,″ she explained. ``But there were times when we were so desperate that we’d take anything that will help us find our sister. So we’d go to psychic after psychic after psychic. We just wanted to hear something from her.″

Bomar was hospitalized part of last week after guards at Delaware County Prison found him trying to choke himself with a bed sheet wrapped around his neck and tied to a doorknob.

His attorney, Mark Much, said he wants a mental health expert to determine Bomar’s fitness to stand trial.

The Cabuenoses want authorities to charge Bomar with Maria’s murder so they can confront the man accused of killing her.

``I don’t think I have anything to say to him, to tell you the truth,″ Marian Cabuenos said. ``I’d just like to kill him. We would like to do to him whatever he did to my sister.″