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Remains identified as those of missing Md. mother; husband killed children, self in 2007
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    HAGERSTOWN, Md. — Human remains found in a crude grave have been identified as those of a Salvadoran immigrant missing since her husband killed their four children and himself more than a year ago, authorities said Thursday.
    DNA tests confirmed that the skeletal remains were those of Deysi M. Benitez, Frederick County Sheriff Charles Jenkins said. He said she probably died of asphyxia.
    ‘‘At this point, all indications are that this was domestic homicide,’’ Jenkins said.
    The remains were found Feb. 29 in a secluded wooded patch along a highway near Emmitsburg, about 20 miles north of Frederick, where Benitez, 25, and her family lived.
    Police found her husband, Pedro Rodriguez, 28, and their children, ages 1 to 9, dead in the home on March 26, 2007. Police concluded he had smothered the three girls and killed the boy with a blow to the head before hanging himself.
    The mother had not been seen by neighbors since about a week before the five bodies were found. The couple had been grappling with financial problems and the husband had recently learned he was losing his job, officials had said.
    Investigators said Rodriguez did not leave a note or anything to explain the killings.
    ‘‘We’re not sure we will ever know what was going on in Pedro’s head,’’ Frederick City Detective Sgt. Bruce DeGrange said.
    Authorities are continuing their investigation to determine when and where Benitez was killed. Investigators planned to examine again the family’s two minivans and car for any evidence that Benitez’s body was driven to the grave site.
    Retired Frederick City Police Lt. Thomas Chase, who investigated the case before his retirement last year, said he hoped the resolution would bring closure to the couple’s families.
    ‘‘I’m deeply saddened that she was killed as well. I had hoped that she wasn’t,’’ Chase said.

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