Identity of murdered Alexander County woman confirmed–suspects charged


Pictured above: Juan Carlos Mendez-Pena, Maria Calderon Martinez, Luis Fernando Sanchez

News release from Sheriff Chris Bowman–The remains of an Alexander County woman, Maria Calderon Martinez, were positively identified on Tuesday by a Roanoke, VA medical examiner. The Alexander County Sheriff’s Office received the call from Sheriff Richard Vaughn of Grayson County informing him of the positive identification of the remains that were found inside a burned vehicle in Virginia on November 4, 2019. Martinez had been reported missing from Alexander County on June 15, 2019, after an incident that occurred at a Sugar Loaf Community residence.  The residence had been burned and two children’s bodies were found inside the dwelling.   Areli Aguire-Avilez and Heidi Wolfe have been charged in connection to this incident with three counts of First Degree Murder and are currently in custody at the Alexander County Detention Center.

The Alexander County Sheriff’s Office is working with the medical examiner’s office in Roanoke, Virginia for further identification of Juan Carlos Mendez-Pena and Luis Fernando Sanchez.

Sheriff Bowman would like to thank the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office, the Roanoke Medical Examiner’s Office, and Radford University Anthropology Department for their assistance in this incident.

Author: Carol Brinson