TULARE, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A Visalia man was found guilty on Monday of murdering his wife, according to officials with the Tulare County Office of the District Attorney.
According to the DA’s office, 41-year-old Thomas Van Es separated from his wife in, 37-year-old Kristy Van Es, in Jan. 2022. On June 9, 2022, he sent her a series of text messages insisting to meet up in person to talk.
Prosecutors say, she eventually agreed to meet him and did not return home afterward. Her body was located the following morning with an apparent shotgun wound to her head.
Van Es was contacted by law enforcement and admitted to messaging the victim about meeting with her but denied that he left his home that evening, according to DA officials.
Video surveillance showed that, contrary to his statement, he had left his home late that evening and did not return until nearly midnight, prosecutors say Court officials say the video also captured a shotgun in the bed of his truck as he pulled back into his driveway.
Police officers said they located a shotgun hidden behind the seats of Van Es’ truck with a single expended shell still in the firearm – the same type used to kill the victim, prosecutors added.
Additionally, DNA evidence collected on the scene indicated that he was present at the location where the victim was found according to the authorities.
Van Es’ sentencing has been scheduled for March 23, 2023; he could face life in prison.