KEARNEY, Ariz. -- Four men have been arrested in connection with a grisly discovery made by a hunter nearly two years ago -- a murder that goes back even further.
On Jan. 16, 2011, a hunter stumbled upon a partially buried Delta toolbox. The decomposing body of man was inside.
The victim still has not been identified, but by following up every lead that came their way, detectives determined the murder stemmed from a drug debt.
According to PCSO spokesman Tim Gaffney, a man named Paul Goga drove the victims to a Kearney home where another man, Gilbert Evora, was lying in wait with a baseball bat. Gaffney said Evora hit the victim with the bat and Goga kicked him until he was dead.
The victim's body was wrapped in plastic and put into the toolbox.
Gaffney said detectives learned that two other men, Javier Santos and Joshua McGuire took the toolbox and buried it in a remote desert area along State Route 177 near Kearney.
"It is estimated the victim was murdered and buried sometime between March and November of 2009," Gaffney said in a news release announcing the arrests.
Detectives had not said what led them to connect Goga, Evora, Santos and McGuire with this case.
Goga and Evora are facing charges of first-degree murder. Santos and McGuire are facing first-degree hindering and abandonment/concealment of a dead body.
“Homicide Detectives never gave up on this case and were determined to find out who committed this gruesome murder," Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said. "Our detectives started with only physical evidence on this case and after continuously working it four people are in custody and will remain there for years to come.”
Kearney is little more than 90 minutes southeast of Phoenix.