Mother found dead in woods

SALEMBURG The Sampson County Sheriff's Office confirms to Eyewitness News that the body of 38-year-old Mary Esther Avellaneda was found Saturday in a wooded area off McKenzie Road outside Salemburg.

According to police, a farmer out checking his pasture noticed what looked like a body in the tree wood line and called deputies.

Police Captain Eric Pope says the Sampson County Medical Examiner is investigating the scene. He would not say how or when Avellaneda died.

The Sampson County mother was first reported missing earlier this week, along with her 13-year-old son.

Family members say Avellaneda and her son, Jose, left with her estranged husband, Jose Cruz Avellaneda, late Sunday evening. They say he returned to the couple's mobile home about 20 minutes later without them and then left again.

The Sheriff's Office states the husband has since left the area and refused to say where the woman and child were before he left.

Family members say the couple had a history of domestic violence.

Deputies have not located Jose Cruz Avellaneda, or the couple's 13-year-old son. Family members have told Sampson County officials the boy is in Mexico with relatives, but they are still trying to confirm that information.

The car Jose Cruz Avellaneda was last seen leaving his residence in late Sunday night was located Friday in San Antonio Texas.

Family members said early on in the investigation that they believed Jose Cruz Avellaneda was headed for Mexico.

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