TACOMA, Wash. - Margaret May Effelberg left a trails of clues that led to her arrest in the murder of a Tacoma man who disappeared last month, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Pierce County Superior Court.
Effelberg, 39 allegedly used debit cards and cash belonging to Santiago Sanchez Cortes after his disappearance in October and may have used the money to buy items to cut up and dispose of his body.
"Based on what she purchased, people have drawn the inference, but since we don't have a body yet, we don't know what happened to the body," said Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Lindquist.
The probable cause affidavit states Effelberg purchased a reciprocating saw and blades along with deodorized trash bags and Lysol disinfectant wipes. The affidavit states Effelberg talked about the murder with witnesses claiming, "I accidentally killed a man." Effelberg has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder. Her bail was set at $500,000.
Co-defendant Arianna Pierottet has been charged with possessing stolen property. The affidavit states she told investigators Effelberg gave her Cortes' debit card and asked for her help to get money from his account.
Cortes, 59, was last seen in late October. Police sources said there were signs of a struggle at his home in Tacoma.
Co-workers went to police after Cortes failed to show up at work for several days.