A 27-year-old Orem man has been charged with killing his girlfriend after an argument, then waiting hours to seek help, police said.
Luis Manuel Vargas Lopez was charged Thursday (May 19) in 4th District Court with aggravated murder/domestic violence, a first-degree felony; obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony; and two counts of domestic violence in the presence of a child, third-degree felonies.
Officers responded at about 8:30 p.m. on May 9 to a report of a woman who was unconscious and not breathing at a residence near Windsor Park. First responders pronounced the woman dead shortly after arriving, police said. They noticed significant injuries to the woman’s face and vomit in her hair.
Lopez, the woman’s boyfriend, told investigators that the couple had been in an argument earlier in the day, and that he had left the residence for about four hours so the couple could separate themselves.
Lopez said he returned about an hour before the 911 call was later made, according to police documents. But doorbell camera footage suggested that he had left six hours before the 911 call was placed and was only gone for about 12 minutes, returning at 2:42 p.m. After, he was not recorded coming or going from the residence.
A friend who was present at the scene Monday night told officers that he had spoken to Lopez earlier that morning about a job, but did not hear back from him until about 8:22 p.m., when the suspect told the friend he needed help.
The friend told investigators that when he arrived a few minutes later, he noticed the woman “had been dead for some time.” The friend then took the couple’s two children out of the house and called 911.
The medical examiner determined the woman’s time of death was at about 4 p.m. Monday — four hours before a 911 call was made by the friend who arrived at the residence.
Lopez told police he found the woman slumped over a chair next to a bottle of floor cleaner and began CPR when she began turning blue. He said he did not know how the woman had injured her face.
Authorities noticed that Lopez had bruising on his hands, allegedly consistent with punching someone or something, police documents state. He told police he bumped them on the bathroom counter while moving the woman. He later admitted he had punched the woman on previous occasions.
Editor’s note • Those who are experiencing intimate partner violence, or know someone who is, are urged to call the Utah Domestic Violence Link Line, 1-800-897-LINK (5465), or the Utah Rape and Sexual Assault Crisis Line, 1-888-421-1100.