A Milpitas man is now in jail after police say he killed a woman and then buried her in a backyard.
34-year-old Micah James Dovlet was arrested on Wednesday, February 3, but the case stems back to several days before.
On Monday, January 31, the Milpitas Police Department says it received a request to do a welfare check of a 59-year-old woman at her home.
“The reporting party was concerned because she had not heard from the victim for several days,” the Department explained in a news release.
Officers responded to the woman’s house, but did not find her, and did not find anything they considered suspicious. They began a missing persons’ investigation, met with the woman’s family at her house to try to learn more about where she may be, and started searching the area and speaking with neighbors.
That’s when they learned the woman may have already been missing for several days. Neighbors told detectives they’d heard screaming on Saturday, January 28, but had not called the police to report it.
Officers continued searching for the woman and on the morning of February 1, a Tuesday, they found evidence near the missing woman’s house that made them believe she may have been the victim of a violent crime. The Milpitas Police Department has not specified with that evidence was.
As a result of the continued investigation, detectives detained Dovlet, who lives nearby.
Milpitas Police Lieutenant Tyler Jamison tells SFist that Dovlet and the victim did not have a dating relationship, but simply knew each other from the neighborhood. He did not hint further at any motive for a violent crime.
Detectives got a search warrant, went through his house, and found further evidence that led them to believe he may have murdered the woman.
Officers took Dovlet to the Santa Clara County Main Jail, charging him with homicide, then went to his home with a second search warrant. On that trip, they found the victim’s body buried in his backyard. Police did not say how she was killed.
The victim has been identified as Tuyet Anh Phan, as the Mercury News reports, and prosecutors said in a criminal complaint that Phan was "particularly vulnerable" and the manner in which the murder was committed "indicates planning, sophistication or professionalism."
Dovlet was arraigned on Wednesday, February 3, and remains in custody at the Santa Clara County Main Jail facing homicide charges.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family,” said Captain John Torrez with the Milpitas Police Department in a statement.
If you have any information on this case, please call the Milpitas Police Department at (408) 586-2400. Or, if you prefer, you can give an anonymous tip through the Crime Tip Hotline by calling (408) 586-2500 or online at http://www.ci.milpitas.ca.gov/crimetip.