Former U.S. Navy service member was convicted guilty of murdering his wife, concealing her body for two years, and then dumping her body in San Diego Bay, where it was discovered later.
According to the prosecution, Matthew Sullivan, who is 35 years old, stabbed his wife, Elizabeth Sullivan, who was 32, to death in 2014 over charges that she had an affair, and was about to file for divorce, threatened to take their children with her, and cashed out a joint bank account.
Her body was discovered two years after she went missing in October 2014, and police initially found “no evidence of foul play” throughout their investigation.
During the trial, it was revealed that Elizabeth was last seen near her house in Point Loma on the night of October 13, 2014, near Liberty Station in San Diego, before her unexpected abduction and murder.
She sent a text message to her friends and family that day. Her husband reported her missing four days later, and her automobile was discovered at her home.
She was seen near the soccer fields at Liberty Station two days later, police say, and again in the San Diego International Airport and Midway area on October 21, 2014.
While officials looked for her, her husband told reporters that while he occasionally gave his wife space because they were experiencing marital problems, she had never been gone for so long.
“She’s never been gone for that long before. She’s been with the children their entire lives, even while I was away at work or deployed… she was always there.”
During the same time period, Elizabeth’s relatives hired a private detective, distributed missing person posters, and created a Gofundme page as well as social media profiles to aid in their search.
According to the Daily Mail, after months of searching, there were no leads and the case was closed.
Sullivan left the Navy after two years, intending to move to the East Coast with his new fiancee.
However, on October 4, 2016, a guy walking his dog discovered Elizabeth’s partially decomposed remains in a bay less than a mile from the home she shared with her husband and two daughters.
After a week, San Diego police were able to identify her body. It took them a year and a half to figure out that Sullivan was responsible for her death.
On January 31, 2018, Sullivan, who had gone to the East Coast at the time, was apprehended and extradited to San Diego, where he remained after being charged with murder.
Elizabeth’s body was allegedly stashed elsewhere, most likely in a freezer, before being dumped in the bay, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Sullivan stabbed his wife at least five times in the torso, according to Deputy Defense Attorney Jill Lindberg. According to him, her injuries resulted in a pool of blood on the floor of her third-floor bedroom.
Sullivan’s defense lawyer, Marcus Dubose, said his client was “trying to cling on to a wife who was moving away, turning towards a self-destructive lifestyle.”
He told the court that the blood found in her bedroom was from a self-inflicted wound that Elizabeth had caused while the pair was having marital problems.
Sullivan was convicted guilty of second-degree murder and the use of a weapon in the attack.
The judge set the date for the sentencing for April 13, 2020.