Remains of missing Paso woman found; murder suspect arrested

The San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday found the remains of a missing rural Paso Robles woman and arrested a house painter they believe killed her and dumped her body.

Sheriff Ian Parkinson on Wednesday announced investigators had recovered the body of Nancy Woodrum, 62, who was reported missing from her home on the 5800 block of El Pharo Drive north of Creston on May 5.

Detectives arrested Carlo Alberto Fuentes Flores, 42, of Paso Robles, who allegedly killed Woodrum, Parkinson said at a press conference.

Fuentes Flores did painting work on Woodrum’s property and had “limited” contact with her, Parkinson said.

Sheriff’s Office personnel gather evidence Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, in an area off Highway 58 in eastern San Luis Obispo County after murder suspect Carlo Alberto Fuentes Flores led investigators to the remains of Nancy Woodrum. San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office

Sheriff’s detectives interviewed Fuentes Flores on Tuesday, and he led investigators to her body in an area off Highway 58 in a rural eastern part of the county, Parkinson said. The Sheriff’s Office would not specify where on the roadway investigators found Woodrum’s body.

Fuentes Flores is being held without bail at the San Luis Obispo County Jail, the Sheriff’s Office said. County District Attorney Dan Dow said his office will likely file charges by Thursday.

Parkinson declined to answer questions regarding Woodrum’s cause of death or any potential motive for her killing. According to the evidence, it appears the suspect acted alone and there’s no continued risk to public safety, he said.

Carlo Alberto Fuentes Flores, 42, of Paso Robles was arrested on Wednesday, December 19, 2018, for allegedly killing Nancy Woodrum, who had been missing since May. San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office

Neighbors last saw Woodrum at her house on the afternoon of May 4, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Family members contacted law enforcement after they stopped by her house and couldn’t find her.

A search-and-rescue team — including ground crews, K9 units and a California Highway Patrol helicopter — combed the area around Woodrum’s home on May 6, but were unable to locate her.

The Sheriff’s Office on May 9 asked residents living near Geneseo and La Panza roads to provide officials with any surveillance video footage from the night of May 4 through the morning of May 5.

During the past seven months, friends and family members plastered ‘missing’ posters throughout the county in an attempt to locate Woodrum.

After Woodrum’s disappearance, the Sheriff’s Office conducted interviews with anyone who may have had contact with her, Parkinson said. Detectives obtained important forensic evidence in September, and identified Fuentes Flores as a possible suspect in November.

“The detectives in this case spent many hours tracking down leads, interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence to try and determine what happened to Nancy Woodrum,” Parkinson said in a statement. “This was a difficult case from the beginning, but I am extremely proud of the tenacious efforts put forth by the investigators in this case. I am also hopeful this arrest brings some amount of closure to the family of Nancy Woodrum.”

Tribune staff writer Gabby Ferreira contributed to this story.

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Lindsey Holden writes about housing, North County communities and everything in between for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. She became a staff writer in 2016 after working for the Rockford Register Star in Illinois. Lindsey is a native Californian raised in the Midwest and earned degrees from DePaul and Northwestern universities.