CA v. Larry Millete: The Search for Maya Millete

Posted at 9:38 AM, January 11, 2023 and last updated 6:27 AM, January 26, 2023

By Court TV Staff

SAN DIEGO (Court TV) — A judge has ordered the husband of missing California woman Maya Millete to stand trial for her death two years after she disappeared.

Larry Millete was charged with first-degree murder and possession of an assault weapon nine months after Maya was last seen on Jan. 7, 2021. Prosecutors contend Larry killed Maya because she was looking to divorce him.

 

The same day she spoke with a divorce attorney, nine loud bands rang out through their Chula Vista neighborhood. A neighbor’s security footage captured the alleged noise. About three hours later, all activity on Maya’s cell phone stopped.

Larry’s defense argues Maya had a history of drinking and infidelity, including leaving their family for a period of time more than once before. They suggest Maya could’ve left her family for good.

Larry Millete preliminary hearing day 1

Larry Millete appears in court Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023 in Chula Vista. Millete is accused of killing his missing wife, Maya, in 2021. (Court TV)

Prosecutors say Larry was willing to go to great lengths to prevent Maya from divorcing him, including killing and disposing of her still-missing body. They even claim Larry desperately attempted to have spells cast on Maya, telling a spell caster in an email, “Make her realize that we are meant to be with each other. Make her miserable without me. Make her want to sleep on the same bed for all eternity.”

In June 2022, proceedings were halted in the case against Larry when defense attorney Bonita Martinez questioned her client’s competency to stand trial. Three months later, Larry was found competent by a psychiatrist.

Following a two week preliminary hearing, Judge Dwayne Moring decided there is sufficient evidence for the case to proceed to trial. A trial date of Sept. 14, 2023, was scheduled.

PRELIMINARY HEARING HIGHLIGHTS

DAY 10 – 1/25/23

DAY 9 – 1/24/23

  • Inv. Mathew Grindley, a certified digital technology officer, testified he found a video of Larry accusing Maya of having an affair. This video was uploaded to Maya’s private Instagram account on October 30, 2020.
  • Peter Villaver, a senior crime and intelligence analyst for the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, found that Maya’s phone stopped using data on January 8, 2021 at 1:25 AM. He also found that Larry’s phone stopped recording events on January 8, 2021 between 6:35 AM – 6:33 PM.
  • Inv. James Rhoades, who also works for the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, was provided video of a large fire in the Millete’s backyard firepit. The neighbor believed it was Larry who was burning something on May 19, 2021 at approximately 8:00 PM. A credit card was recovered from the fireplace, though it couldn’t be determined who the credit card belonged to.
    • Inv. Rhoades also found that on May 26, 2020, money began transferring from May’s independent bank account to hers and Larry’s joint accounts.
    • After the black Lexus was impounded by the CVPD, it was determined on January 8, 2021, between 444 – 692 miles were not accounted for.
    • Inv. Rhoades calculated Larry spent $1,154.05 for 70 spells between September 2020 – February 2021. On January 8, 2021 there were no messages for spells. On January 9, 2021, Larry canceled the hexes on Maya and placed them on the man she was having an affair with instead.

DAY 8 – 1/23/23

  • Det. Jesse Vicente, of the CVPD crimes and violence unit, said on January 8, 2021, it was Larry’s statement that he packed a cooler and a bedcot into the Lexus to take with him and his son to the beach.  He also noted state parks police and the on-duty lifeguard did not see a man with a young boy on that day.
  • Inv. Mathew Grindley, a certified digital technology officer, looked into Maya and Larry’s cell phones and Internet accounts. Maya suspected Larry was poisoning her, Larry was emailing spell casters, Larry was Google-searching subliminal messages and sedatives. Maya had a private Instagram account which showed she was having an affair with a man named Jamey.
  • WATCH: Larry Millete Preliminary Hearing: Day 8

DAY 7 – 1/20/23

  • Det. Jesse Vicente, of the CVPD crimes and violence unit, collected surveillance video of, possibly, the last time Maya was seen on January 7, 2021 between 3:00 PM – 4:42 PM. He also collected surveillance video of the Millete black Lexus on January 8, 2021 being repositioned, and then later departing for approximately 12 hours.
  • Det. Lorenzo “Roman” Ruiz, who was with the CVPD crimes and violence unit in 2021, executed a search warrant on January 23, 2021. On this day, the noteworthy items he took possession of included two letters – one written by Maya where she expresses her desire to leave her marriage, and one written by Larry where he acknowledges his shortcomings in their marriage. Ruiz also photographed a collection of spell books in a downstairs closet.

DAY 6 – 1/19/23

  • Bryan Mansfield – Maya Millete’s employer
    • June 21, 2020, Maya left SWRMC for Naval Information Warfare Pacific as a contract specialist
    • Maya took a downgrade in rank but an increase in pay
    • Dec. 18, 2020: Maya & Mansfield discussed delays in her work, she explained she was going through a separation with Larry
    • Jan. 10, 2021: Maya’s sister called him and said Maya was missing and asked if she had worked on Friday, Jan. 8, it was determined she had not worked that day
  • Kristeen Timmers – Maya’s close friend/former coworker
    • Met Maya in 2008 as interns at Balboa Naval Hospital, went on to work together at SWRMC
    • Testified that in March 2020, Maya had reached a low point in her marriage
      • Learned that Larry had gained access to Maya’s social media accounts
      • Maya told her if there was a custody battle, she would probably lose because she worked full time and didn’t have childcare available to her
    • Testified that in Aug. 2020, Maya told her that she found her daughter’s phone in her car and it was being used to track her
    • Testified that around Dec. 18, 2020, Maya said she found a phone around her bed playing subliminal messages
    • Testified that at one point, Maya said she was afraid Larry would hurt the kids to hurt her
    • Testified that at another point, Maya said she was concerned if she filed for divorce, her valuables would disappear & she didn’t have access to a safe in the house anymore

DAY 5 – 1/18/23

  • Genesis Nicolas-Tabalanza – Maya’s sister-in-law, continued
    • Maya confided to hear about her marriage with Larry when she moved into their home in May-June 2020
    • Detailed text messages with Larry, including a Sept. 15, 2020 conversation in which Larry mentioned “wanting to apprentice under a spell caster”
    • Detailed a June 27, 2020 incident in which Larry followed Maya to work and saw her with a coworker – the same day Maya moved out of Jay-R & Genesis’ home
    • On cross, testified that Maya said one reason she wanted to leave her marriage was because she was exhausted & needed space from Larry
    • WATCH: Testimony: Larry Millete Was Studying Spell Casting
  • Derek Sopp – Maya’s former employer
    • Testified Maya worked at NAVSEA Southwest Maintenance Center as a division head from 2017-2020 with a starting salary of $130K/$140K
    • In Feb. 2020, a woman accused Maya of having an affair with a subordinate. Testified that the accusations were false.
    • Testified that Larry emailed him twice about moving a different subordinate to another department.
    • Maya left SWRMC to work at NIWC in the middle of 2020. Testified that Maya probably wanted to get away from the infidelity accusations.
    • On Jan. 6, 2021, Maya called him to give him a heads up that she was divorcing Larry and that Larry had threatened to ruin her professionally
  • Jaypie Tabalanza – Maya’s brother
    • Testified that he and Maya didn’t discuss her marriage because Maya said she would handle Larry by herself
    • Testified that in June 2020, Larry asked if there was someone he knew who could get the guy Maya was having an affair with
    • Testified that on Dec. 25, 2020, Larry mentioned the only way to keep Maya was to get rid of that guy
    • Testified that on Jan. 2, 2021, Larry offered him $4,000 to help him find a person to get the guy Maya was having an affair with, and was willing to pay $20,000 to that person. Larry also allegedly mentioned he likes torturing people
    • Testified that on Jan. 8, 2021, he was expected to hear from Maya because she was planning her daughter’s birthday celebration. After finally getting ahold of Larry on FaceTime, he asked where Maya was and Larry told him she had locked herself in the master bedroom

DAY 4 – 1/17/23

  • Pablito Tabalanza – Maya Millete’s father
    • Testified that Larry Millete asked for his help to talk to Maya in 2020, and it appeared the couple was always fighting at the time.
    • Testified that on Jan. 4, 2021, Maya asked him to babysit, then Larry told him not to come. It was the last time he heard from Maya.
    • Testified that on Jan. 9, 2021, he went to Maya’s house after Jay-R called him.
      • At the house, Larry told him Maya was upstairs so he went to the bedroom and knocked on the door repeatedly, calling out for Maya
      • Larry took a key from his pocket and opened the door
      • Larry went in the room, checked Maya’s desk and said her credit card wasn’t there
      • Larry suggested that Maya went jogging
      • Larry said, ‘Papa don’t worry… there’s nothing going on, I will not do that’
    • Testified that in 2020, Larry once said ‘I will kill them’ and then lifted his shirt to show he had a gun. Pablito said he may’ve previously told investigators Larry was referring to one of Maya’s friends/coworkers, but doesn’t remember saying who this was in reference to
    • WATCH: Maya Millete’s Father Testifies at Preliminary Hearing
  • Ofc. Ryan Culver – conducted a welfare check on Jan. 10, 2021
    • Went to the Millete residence on Jan. 10, 2021 at 12:45 AM
    • Took Larry and Maricris’s statements
    • Noted that the house was in disarray and all vehicles were accounted for
    • Testified that Larry’s text messages with Maya only went back a day or two
    • A friend of Maya told him that the couple had marital difficulties
    • On cross, testified that Maya’s sister told him she was known to disappear for a whole day to go on hikes & that Maya had an affair 6 months ago, which was the origin of the couple’s troubles
    • WATCH: Breaking Down Larry Millete’s Version of Events
  • Genesis Nicolas-Tabalanza – Maya’s sister-in-law
    • Testified that Maya moved in with her and Jay-R around May 2020-June 2020
    • Testified that Larry was notified of an investigation at Maya’s work that she was possibly having an affair

DAY 3 – 1/13/23

  • Maricris Drouaillet, Maya Millete’s sister, underwent cross-examination
    • Drouaillet testified she became suspicious something happened to Maya because Larry & Maya had argued the night before
    • Testified the start of the change in relationship between Maya’s family and Larry happened when Larry allegedly logged into Maya’s Facebook account, read her messages & began unfriending members of the family
    • WATCH: Larry Millete Preliminary Hearing Resumes
  • Jay-R Tabalanza, Maya’s youngest brother, testified about his observations in Larry & Maya’s marriage & Larry’s fears of Maya leaving him
    • Testified that in the beginning of 2020, Larry was concerned Maya was leaving him & asked for help
    • Around May 2020, Maya moved in with Jay-R for about 6 weeks and said she wanted to separate from Larry
    • That summer, Larry told Jay-R that Maya confessed to an affair and said he wanted to “get the other guy”
    • Testified that on Aug. 12, 2022, Maya and Jay-R chatted on Facebook Messenger. She mentioned mental abuse, being isolated and that Larry was making it seem like she was going to leave him for a co-worker, and that Larry was spreading the word that she was in a midlife crisis
    • Testified that Larry was mostly driving Maya’s Jeep on a New Year’s trip.
    • Testified that on Jan. 8, 2021, he went to the Millete house. When he asked their daughter, Maylani, where Maya was, she told Jay-R that ‘mom was locked in her room for 11 hours and hasn’t fed us.’ Jay-R testified he went upstairs, knocked on the master bedroom, called out for Maya, and didn’t hear any movement. Jay-R testified the door was locked, but he didn’t ask Larry ‘why’ because he didn’t want to be intrusive. He testified he noticed damage tot he bedroom door.

DAY 2 – 1/12/23

  • Crime scene specialist David Garber concluded his testimony
    • Testified to a “letter” he found from Maya’s notebook and web search history on a computer
  • Maricris Drouaillet, Maya Millete’s sister, detailed their family’s life growing up and Maya’s marriage to Larry
    • Said Maya met Larry in high school, they worked together at a McDonald’s
    • In mid-2020, Larry allegedly called Maricris and asking how she moved on from her ex
    • Detailed incidents she witnessed of Maya & Larry arguing, and an incident she witnessed Larry hit a parking attendant.
    • Testified that on New Year’s 2021, Maya told her on a family trip that she was going to divorce Larry and that it was going to be messy. Maya said she didn’t have control of her finances, but didn’t care and said she’d be OK. Maya also allegedly said that if something happened to her, it was Larry.
    • WATCH: Maya Millete’s Sister Testifies at Preliminary Hearing

DAY 1 – 1/11/23

  • Desteny Johnson testified about scheduling Maya Millete’s appointment with a divorce attorney
    • Johnson said she spoke with Maya on Jan. 7, 2021, around 1:45 p.m.
    • Testified that Maya didn’t want an in-person appointment because she was afraid of being followed and the behavior that might ensue
    • Testified that Maya said she didn’t have access to money
    • Johnson scheduled Maya’s phone appointment for Jan. 12
    • After she found out Maya was missing, she contacted the Chula Vista Police Department to relay her Jan. 7 phone call with Maya
    • WATCH: Law Firm Receptionist Testifies About Speaking With Maya Millete
  • Crime scene specialist David Garber documented the Millete residence on Jan. 23, 2021
    • On cross-examination, Garber testified he saw evidence of possible blood splatter on the master bathroom’s wall in a 2-3 foot area above the vanity, but couldn’t say for sure if it was human blood
    • Garber testified he saw another part of the master bathroom that could have blood. He found it by testing the entire bathroom with a chemical called ‘blue star,’ which reacted with the particular section of the bathroom
    • WATCH: Larry Millete Preliminary Hearing: Day 1

 

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