Norman police are investigating the death of a teenage woman whose body was found decomposing in the basement of a home.
A spokesperson for the department said they believe Margarita “Maggie” Sandoval was 19 years old when she died, and that her body was found three years later.
“We knew something was wrong when she stopped calling my mom,” said Taylor Hearon, Sandoval’s sister. The last time they spoke was in 2018, she said.
Officers found Sandoval’s body in the basement of a home on West Lindsey Street after receiving a tip.
A resident showed them a box wrapped in 20-30” layers of a thick plastic. In a search warrant, officers wrote liquid was dripping from the box, bugs were crawling out, and they could smell “an odor of decomposition.”
Hearon said the state of Sandoval’s body was “disrespectful.”
“I don’t know how you can live knowing that you did that. I don’t know how you can sleep at night knowing that you did that,” she said. “I feel like you would have to be the most heartless person.”
The Oklahoma Medical Examiner is reviewing the death and has yet to determine a cause.
A Norman police spokesperson said investigators are following leads and have not named any suspects related to the death.
Sandoval was a kind person, Hearon said, with a strong love for her family.
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard Maggie say a mean word to anybody, in her life. I don’t think she had the heart to do that.”
Hearon said Sandoval was receiving social security payments monthly because of a mental disability. Some family members wanted to become Sandoval’s caretaker to receive the payments, Hearon said.
“She was getting passed around,” Hearon said. “I did believe that as soon as Maggie turned 18, no one saw her but as a big dollar sign. Everyone let her down.”
In February 2018, Sandoval called Norman police to report that her caretakers, a brother and sister-in-law, were abusive.
Officers moved her to a temporary safe place and referred the case to Adult Protective Services, according to an incident report.