The husband of a missing California mom of three was arrested Tuesday for her murder, 10 months after she disappeared.
“The evidence is clear and overwhelming. Larry Millete is responsible for May’s murder and disappearance,” Chula Vista Police Chief Roxana Kennedy said in a Tuesday press conference.
Maya “May” Millete, 39, was last seen alive on Jan. 7, 2021, shortly before she and her husband were about to take their daughters—aged 4, 9, and 11—on a trip to the mountains. Her family said they called police to report her missing on the night of January 9. Larry killed his wife Jan. 7, authorities allege. Her body has not been recovered. Larry Millete, who is charged with murder and illegal possession of an assault weapon, is being held without bail and is slated for arraignment Thursday.
Her sister Maricris Maricris Drouaillet pleaded with the public to come forward with any information in a Tuesday press conference.
“We made a promise to her 11-year-old daughter that we will bring her mom home. Let the kids know where their mommy is at,” she said through tears.
On the day she vanished, May made an appointment with a divorce lawyer for the following week—and Larry was aware of it. “When she called the attorney on Jan 7, we know that Larry was aware," said San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan. "He sent text messages to his boss that this was final, that it was coming.”
It was her final phone call, Chula Vista police said. Although she said it was “for a friend,” her older sister said she had been considering a divorce for the past year.
While laying out the charges, Stephan outlined evidence that included the lengths Larry allegedly went to in order to stop his wife from leaving him. He allegedly sent daily messages to so-called “spellcasters” to bewitch May and bring harm to her and a man he believed had ruined their marriage.
“These spellcasters were asked to make May want to stay in the relationship. He was asking for May to become incapacitated, to be in an accident, to have broken bones so she would have to stay at home,” Stephan said.
Larry allegedly sent an ominous text the last night May was seen alive: “I think she wants me to snap, and I’m shaking inside ready to snap.”
Stephan said that, despite a previous court order, Larry had not turned over a .40 caliber rifle to police.
Security cameras in neighboring houses detected nine loud bangs the night May’s phone ceased its activity, though the FBI could not determine if the noises were gunshots, according to the district attorney.
The next day, Larry pulled his black Lexus into his garage and out of view of any security camera, left his phone in the house, and drove roughly two-and-a-half hours away, disappearing for 11 hours in all with his 4-year-old daughter. Authorities believe he spent that time disposing of May’s body. The story Larry told May’s family allegedly changed—first he said he had been at work, then he said he had taken their daughter to the beach. Authorities said he misidentified the beach he had visited on a map.
“He’s our family. It’s hard to go against your family,” Drouaillet said. “He’s been with us for 20 years. My sister did love him. She gave him three kids.” Police did not specify the whereabouts of the three children, only that they were “safe.”
As previously reported by The Daily Beast, May was a defense contractor at the Naval Base in San Diego who had been planning a family trip to Big Bear to celebrate her daughter’s 11th birthday. Drouaillet said that the family began to worry after May’s phone was going directly to voicemail and texts to arrange plans were left unanswered.
“It was extremely unusual for my sister to be off her phone for that long—let alone turn it off and not be in communication with us at all. Especially since we had a plan to go on a trip that day for her daughter’s birthday,” Drouaillet, 47, told The Daily Beast in March.
Drouaillet said that when her older brother went to Maya’s Chula Vista home to check in, Larry Millete told them she’d locked herself in their room after an argument and had not spoken to him or their three children all day. Days later, the family returned to the house and demanded Millete open the bedroom door—only to find it empty. They called 911.
The search for Maya followed many leads but never resulted in any discoveries. Last spring, investigators descended on a defunct golf course looking for her remains but came up empty.
“I’m pleading: Anyone out there, please, anybody, somewhere, somehow might know where my sister’s whereabouts,” Drouaillet said at a February media briefing. “Please, bring her home…her kids, they need their mom. Please, help us find my sister. Anyone out there, if you have any information at all, please help me, help us find my sister. And from the bottom of our hearts, please, we thank you, we thank you, and we thank you.”
That same month, Drouaillet told the local NBC affiliate that she and the rest of the family “can’t imagine [Larry Millete] doing anything to our sister.”
At one point, searchers found bone fragments they thought could be Maya’s, but they turned out to be animal remains. Her body has never been found.
Over the last nine months, Larry Millete has maintained his innocence in a case that has garnered national attention and rattled San Diego residents. After doing a few local TV interviews, Millete stopped speaking about the case, stopped joining searchers looking for May and stopped attending public events intended to bring attention to the case.
In February, according to police, he stopped talking to police or his wife’s family.
Millete did not respond to a text message sent to his phone Tuesday after news emerged of his arrest. In March, he told The Daily Beast over text message that the whole ordeal “has been difficult for everyone.”
Declining to comment on why he stopped cooperating with police, he said his “kids and I are coping as best as we can. I keep them busy, which in turn keeps me busy.”
“Everything I say or do seems to [be] misconstrued or conveyed differently,” he said at the time. “I hope you...understand. Some, not all, media has sensationalized our story and have already manipulated the public’s opinion.”