EL PASO, TX (KTSM) – Ricardo Marquez, who was found guilty of murder last week in the disappearance of Erika Gaytan, was sentenced Tuesday for the crime.

The 75-year sentence was handed down by Judge Sam Medrano, after Gaytan’s defense team opted for the judge, rather than the jury, to sentence him.

Just last week, the jury took less than six hours to deliver their judgment in a trial that had been halted twice, once for a juror issue and a month later over COVID concerns.

Gaytan’s family spoke to the media after the sentencing trial, saying while they felt justice was served with this sentence, they would not find peace until Gaytan’s body was found.

As KTSM previously reported, Marquez was accused of killing Gaytan in 2019 after the two attended a concert together. Gaytan’s body was never found. Investigators found traces of Gaytan’s blood in Marquez’s brother’s Jeep after he asked to borrow it.

Investigators also discovered Marquez borrowed a shovel and surveillance video showed him driving to the Red Sands area near Montana in the Jeep after borrowing the shovel.

Investigators also found “dirt-filled shoes” during the investigation.

District Attorney Yvonne Rosales said this type of case, where a body is not found, is very difficult for prosecutors to get a conviction.

“To get a conviction on a murder case without having recovered a body is one of the most difficult cases a prosecutor will have in their careers,” Rosales said.

Guadalupe Gaytan, Erika’s adoptive mother, said they would continue searching for her body and asked if anyone could help them so they could finally have peace.

Her biological mother Maria De Lourdes Martinez, said she wishes she had Erika with her every day and would tell her she misses her if she could speak to her again. She also said she hopes they could one day find her remains so she could have a proper burial.

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