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Visalia man charged in 11-year-old murder of his wife

VISALIA, California - Authorities made an arrest in an 11-year-old homicide case, the Visalia Police Department announced Wednesday.

On the night of Nov. 25, 2006, the Police Department got a call about a possible dead body along a canal bank east of Akers Street -- north of Hillsdale Avenue.

Officers found the body of a dead woman in a shallow grave.

She was later identified as Sonia Hughes, and she'd been strangled to death, an autopsy showed.

For 11 years, violent crimes detectives continued to investigate the case.

The investigation showed that in September 2006, Joseph Hughes and his wife -- the victim -- had a verbal argument at their residence in the 100 block of north Granite Street, police said.

They left the residence, and the victim was not seen again until her body was discovered the following month.

Detectives always kept Joseph Hughes as the primary suspect, police said.

On Nov. 1, 2017, the Tulare County District Attorney's Office issued a warrant for his arrest on homicide charges.

On Tuesday, Hughes, now 40, was transported to Tulare County from a state prison where he was serving a prison sentence on unrelated charges, police said.

After being interviewed, he was booked into the Tulare County Pre-Trial Facility on homicide charges.

Anyone with information on this case should call Detective Celeste Sanchez at (559)713-4739.


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