Police link man to two missing women
MYSTERY: One woman was discovered dead, the other has yet to be found.
By C.J. Lin, Staff Writer Posted: 01/05/2011 09:13:51 PM PST Updated: 01/05/2011 09:18:25 PM PST
This series of photos shows how Aurangzeb "Simon" Aiyoob Manjra's appearance has changed over time. He has been linked to the disappearance of two women.
The two women had lived about five miles apart - one in Glendale, the other in Los Angeles.
One went missing in 1996. Her body was found days later in Mexico, but it took until 2009 for authorities to identify her as Esperanza Torio, a 39-year-old single mother.
The second, Maria Santos, 44, has been missing since 2004, and investigators believe she was the victim of foul play.
Their common link: Aurangzeb "Simon" Aiyoob Manjra, a 51-year-old salesman whom each woman had dated shortly before she went missing.
Manjra was arrested in May on two counts of murder and is being held without bail.
But Glendale police on Wednesday requested more information from the public on Manjra's relationships with these women, the whereabouts of Santos' body and on any other possible victims.
"If you look at him, he was dating a woman that disappeared in '96 and eight years later, he dated another woman who disappeared," said Glendale police Sgt. Tom Lorenz. "We'd like to know his other relationships with other women."
Torio, a mother of two teenage boys, was about to move into a new apartment in Glendale and start a new job in August 1996. But she disappeared before the move and was reported missing by her sister when she failed to return to their home in the 100 block of East Chestnut Street, according to the Glendale Police Department.
Police at the time couldn't figure out why she disappeared or even whether a crime
had occurred. However, her family gave DNA samples that were entered into a missing persons database with the hope of finding her one day.
In 2009, the DNA was matched to a body that had been found in Playas De Rosarito, Mexico, just days after Torio was reported missing. Mexican authorities had not made the connection, but 13 years later, provided samples to U.S. authorities that led to Torio's identification.
The cold case was reopened as a murder investigation and focused on Manjra, whom Esperanza had dated the same year she disappeared, Lorenz said.
Investigators soon discovered that Manjra had dated Santos in 2004. Santos was also reported missing to the Los Angeles Police Department, which also couldn't determine why she had disappeared or if a crime had taken place. There was no evidence of violence in either of the relationships, Lorenz said.
Police released photos of the two women as well as a series of photos of Manjra dating back to 1992. He lived in the 900 block of South Serrano Avenue in L.A. and sold a variety of items such as cell phones from a business in the 100 block of South Vermont - the area where Santos lived, according to police.
"Over the years, he's changed his appearance and we've released that information so over the last 20 years, people may be able to look at him and know who he is," Lorenz said.
Detectives are trying to piece together the last 30 years of Manjra's life.
"Every little bit may help put a piece together," Lorenz said. "We're not saying there are other missing people out there, but if there are, we need to know."
Anyone with information is asked to call Glendale homicide Detective Petros Kmbikyan at 818-548-3987. Anonymous tips may be provided by calling Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).