PCSO releases details in arrest connected to missing couple

Image 1 of 2

MARICOPA, Ariz. (AP) - The bodies of a man and a woman believed to be a Phoenix-area couple missing for more than a week were recovered from a property near their home, and a man who lives there was arrested, authorities said Thursday.

Michael Careccia, 44, and his wife, Tina, 42, have not been seen since they drove away from their house about 5 a.m. June 22. After the man's son reported them missing that night, authorities have gone door to door, launched air and ground searches, and used dogs to try to track their scent.

The couple's abandoned car was later found covered in dirt about a half-mile away from their home in Maricopa, about 35 miles south of Phoenix.

The recovered bodies are believed to be the couple's, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said in a statement. Jose Valenzuela, 38, of Maricopa, was arrested and booked into jail on suspicion of first-degree murder. He's being held on a $2 million bond.

Valenzuela reportedly shot the victims with a .22 caliber handgun. Deputies were able to find the gun at some point during the investigation.

According to Babeu, Valenzuela confessed to borrowing a backhoe from a acquaintance to dig the graves. He also claims to have used meth with victims before the murders.

There has been no activity associated with the couple's phones, bank accounts, credit cards or social media accounts since they went missing, investigators said.

The Careccias' family members have been notified of the recovery and arrest, Babeu said.

"Our investigators and staff continue to carefully gather evidence that we believe will prove critical to our investigation and result in a stronger criminal case," the sheriff said.

Sheriff's officials served a search warrant Wednesday at a home blocks from the couple's residence, and deputies were seen digging on the property.

Tina Careccia is an accountant at a Chandler construction company and her husband is a pilot, authorities say.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press modified.