CRIME

Suspect accused of kidnapping, killing Kearns woman pleads guilty

May 24, 2024, 5:18 PM | Updated: 6:35 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — One of six suspects pled guilty to the kidnapping and death of a 25-year-old Kearns woman in court Friday.

Orlando Esiesa Tobar is the first to be convicted in the murder case of Conzuelo “Nicole” Solorio-Romero in 2021.

In a plea deal, prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty, changing an aggravated murder charge to murder. Prosecutors also dropped an obstructing justice charge.

Tobar pled guilty to murder and aggravated kidnapping, both first-degree felonies.

On Feb. 6, 2021, Romero was kidnapped from her home in Kearns. Tobar’s attorney, Neal Hamilton, told the court that surveillance video showed Tobar with Romero getting into a car with Jorge Rafael Medina-Reyes, who was in the driver’s seat.

Hamilton stated Tobar and Reyes picked up Caleb Vela, drove for several hours, and took Romero to a home in West Valley City.

“Witnesses reported seeing Mr. Tobar escorting Ms. Romero into the residence at knifepoint, followed by Medina-Reyes and Vela. Waiting inside the residence were Carolina Marquez, Fernando Marquez and Ivan Acosta,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton stated his client “knowingly and intentionally aided Medina-Reyes when he shot Ms. Romero in the head.” After realizing Romero had not died, she was shot a second time, killing her.

Hamilton said Romero’s body was then wrapped in a plastic bag, taken by Tobar and Cristian Morales-Gonzales, and dumped on the side of the road in Tooele County.

Medina-Reyes, Vela, Acosta, Morales-Gonzales and Carolina and Fernandez Marquez are all awaiting trial for their alleged involvement.

Judge Partick Corum of the Third District Court asked Tobar if the information on what happened was correct. Tobar said yes.

Both charges amount to 15 years to life, each. Sentencing is scheduled for July 22.

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Suspect accused of kidnapping, killing Kearns woman pleads guilty