Murder Trial Begins in Slaying of Woman Whose Identity Remains a Mystery

Nearly seven years after her death, she remains known as Jane Doe

A murder trial has begun for one of two brothers charged in the grisly 2009 slaying of a woman whose body was found dumped and burned in an Irvine parking lot - though the woman herself has yet to be identified.

DNA evidence on the woman's fingernails led authorities to 30-year-old Zenaido Baldivia-Guzman and his 37-year-old brother, Gabino Baldivia-Guzman, both charged with murder, Orange County prosecutors said.

On the night of Sept. 4, 2009, prosecutors said the men picked up the woman in their van in Santa Ana. When she began to panic and scream, Zenaido Baldivia-Guzman allegedly pulled her into the back of the van and began to beat her, hitting her in the face and neck, as she struggled to escape. He allegedly strangled her while his brother continued to drive.

The men then allegedly drove to an industrial business parking lot in the 1800 block of Kettering in Irvine, where they dumped the body, doused it with gasoline from a canister in the van and set it ablaze. They grabbed her cellphone and took off.

Workers at the complex discovered the remains. She had burns to more than 90 percent of her body, prosecutors said.

Investigators have been unable to identify the victim - there were fingerprints, but no matches. Dental records were also checked, but again turned up blank. She was African American, with short curly brown hair and had a single piercing in each ear. In court, experts testified the 152 pound, 6-foot-tall victim was likely in her 20s.

Pathologists say there was marijuana in her system at the time.

Detectives thought they could trace her identity through the shoe she was wearing: a black, strappy high heel with a zipper and the brand name "Glaze." It was a 10. However, the shoe had hardly been worn.

Nearly seven years after her death, she remains known as Jane Doe.

The men are being tried separately. Gabino Baldivia-Guzman, who was allegedly behind the wheel of the van while the killing was taking place in the rear, will be tried at a later time.

They are each charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder with sentencing enhancements for murder during the commission of a kidnapping.

If convicted, they each face a minimum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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