Local News

Man wanted in 2008 slaying of Cary woman still on the run

Posted December 5, 2010 11:40 a.m. EST

— Cary police are still searching for the suspect in the death of Maria Teresa Herrera-Diaz, 29, who was found dead in her home at 102 Dunhagan Place on Sept. 6, 2008.

Arnulfo Barron Cobos, 45, who police call the common-law husband of Herrera-Diaz, remains on the run.

Co-workers knew Herrera-Diaz as a smiling, hard worker. Investigators said that work ethic – and Cobos' efforts – kept her isolated from her family, and toward the end of her life, Herrera-Diaz became distant.

"She was an absolutely hard-working individual. She worked most days (for) 17 or 18 hours," Cary Police Capt. Mike Williams said. "She didn't have a lot of opportunity to go out, for them to get to know other people.

"He utilized this to take her from family and friends," Williams said of Cobos.

Herrera-Diaz's brother, Leonard Sanchez Diaz, said that his sister left their native Mexico for a fresh start and to try get away from Cobos.

She was last seen alive going into her bedroom with Cobos around 11 p.m. on Sept. 5, according to a search warrant.

Sanchez, who owns the home, told WRAL News that he woke up around 3 a.m. to hear noises upstairs.

About an hour later, Cobos woke up Eleza Herrera-Diaz, who is also Herrera-Diaz's brother and lived in the home, said he was going to work and told him to wake up his sister at 7 a.m., the warrant states. The brother slept until 8 a.m., when one of the roommates discovered his sister's body.

Police said that Cobos never showed up for work at at LaTapita Supermarket in Raleigh, and he stole a Saturn belonging to Sanchez. The Saturn was found abandoned east of Polkton in November 2008, near the South Carolina line.

Police believe Cobos might be in South Carolina or Mexico, where he has family. Mexican authorities and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are assisting Cary police in the investigation.

Diaz said he saw a violent streak in Cobos when they worked together.

"He used to tell him that he killed a bunch of people in Mexico, but he never took it seriously," Diaz said, speaking through his daughter as a translator.

Police describe Cobos as an Hispanic man, 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 7 inches tall and 200 pounds. He has a mustache in a picture distributed by police and is also known to have a goatee.

A cash reward is offered for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with information about Cobos' whereabouts should call Cary police 919-469-4016 or Crime Stoppers at 919-226-2745.