Zoila Mariza Salcedo

Salcedo, circa 2003; Arturo Velazquez-Celon

  • Missing Since 05/16/2003
  • Missing From Houston, Texas
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Date of Birth 06/28/1976 (43)
  • Age 26 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'5, 130 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Hispanic female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Some agencies refer to Salcedo as Mariza Salcedo or Zoila Mariza Salcedo Alvarazo. Her ears are pierced.

Details of Disappearance

Salcedo was last seen departing her apartment in the 1500 block of Hollister Street in Houston, Texas, on May 16, 2003. She was accompanied by 43-year-old Arturo Velazquez-Celon (sometimes referred to as Arturo Velasquez) at the time.

Photographs of Velazquez-Colon is posted with this case summary. Salcedo said she was going to take him to an eye doctor in either Houston or Austin, Texas. They drove away in Salcedo's green Ford Explorer. The last contact Salcedo's family had with her was between noon and 12:30 p.m. that same day.

On May 21, five days after she was last seen, Salcedo's car was found in the 7200 block of Pinemont Street, at the apartment complex where Velazquez-Celon lived at the time. There was no sign of the whereabouts of either of them at the scene, but evidence of a struggle and blood matching Salcedo's DNA was found in Velazquez-Celon's apartment. Her purse and driver's license were also inside the residence.

On June 6, Salcedo's case was reclassified as a homicide due to the suspicious circumstances in her case, and Velazquez-Celon was charged with her murder. He apparently purchased a bus ticket to San Luis, Mexico just hours after her disappearance and may still be in that country.

Velazquez-Celon's friend who gave him a ride to the bus station said he had Salcedo's cellular, phone but Salcedo was not with him. The friend says Velazquez-Celon seemed very eager to get out of Houston, but he did not tell his boss that he was quitting his job. He has family in Mexico but they say they have not heard from him since May 2003.

Velazquez-Celon has not been located by police and neither has Salcedo. They worked in the same building together and were friends. Velazquez-Celon has previously lived in Chicago, Illinois, where he used the alias Rene Martinez. His date of birth is May 30, 1960.

Salcedo left behind a small daughter when she disappeared and her family says it is uncharacteristic of her to abandon the child. Foul play is suspected in her disappearance due to the circumstances involved.

Investigating Agency

  • Houston Police Department 713-731-5223

Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated September 17, 2006; picture added.