Claudia Lopez-Escobar

Lopez-Escobar, circa 2012; Green Jeep Cherokee; Sar I

  • Missing Since 03/23/2012
  • Missing From Columbus, Ohio
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Date of Birth 12/30/1982 (35)
  • Age 29 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'0 - 5'2, 155 - 165 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Hispanic female. Black hair, brown eyes. Lopez-Escobar's ears are pierced.

Details of Disappearance

Lopez-Escobar was last seen at a co-worker's apartment in the 1700 block of Peasant Run west in Columbus, Ohio at 10:00 a.m. on March 23, 2012. She was driving a green 1996 Jeep Cherokee with a beige interior, black rims and the Ohio license plate number FLT6869.

She has never been heard from again. She was reported missing after she stopped showing up for work at American Corrugated Products on Alkire Road; she'd been working there for six months and had a reputation as a dependable employee.

Lopez-Escobar was born in a remote area near the city of Tapachula, Mexico, which is on the border with Guatemala. She's a naturalized American citizen who'd been living in the United States for several years by 2012. Her two young sons were being cared for by her relatives in Mexico.

Lopez-Escobar has no family members living near her, but she kept in regular touch with her family in Mexico and sent them money regularly. All contact with them stopped after March 23.

Lopez-Escobar was last seen in the company of Sar I, a co-worker who had worked at American Corrugated Products for twelve years. He was born in Cambodia; I is a common last name in that country. I dropped out of sight in early April. In May 2012, he was charged with murder, kidnapping and gross abuse of a corpse in Lopez-Escobar's case.

Investigators stated evidence at his apartment, including blood matching Lopez-Escobar's DNA, indicated she had been killed there. According to one of her friends, she and I had been dating at one time, but Lopez-Escobar had ended the relationship and I had been stalking her before her disappearance.

I was still at large at the time he was charged, and wasn't arrested until November 2013, when he was apprehended in Janesville, Wisconsin. He confessed to the murder after his arrest, stating he'd beaten Lopez-Escobar with a marble bowl and then tied a plastic bag around her neck and suffocated her.

A photo of I is posted with this case summary. He stated he dismembered the body and disposed of it in various trash bins in the Columbus area. I pleaded guilty to murder and evidence tampering and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 18 years. If he is ever released, he will probably be deported back to Cambodia.

Foul play is suspected in Lopez-Escobar's disappearance due to the circumstances involved. A photo of a Jeep similar to her missing vehicle is posted below this case summary.

Investigating Agency

  • Columbus Police Department 614-645-4545

Updated 4 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated January 6, 2015; details of disappearance updated.