Yanira Cedillos’ alleged killer enters plea in Grant County
EPHRATA, Wash. — The man accused of killing 30-year-old Moses Lake mother, Yanira Cedillos, plead not guilty to one charge of second degree murder and second degree rape.
Twenty-eight year old Juan Gastelum appeared virtually before a Grant County Judge on Monday morning to submit his not guilty plea to the two charges.
“This morning has just been so hard, just thinking like, how could he do this to us? Putting us through the trial, putting us through even more things? It’s like please stop already,” Yanira’s sister Lanny Abundiz said.
Unless anything changes, like switching his plea, the case will go to trial in August.
Lanny said it will be like reliving Yanira’s death all over again.
Cedillos went missing from Moses Lake on March 4th after her 30th birthday celebration.
Police said her ex-boyfriend Juan Gastelum, who family has said was abusive to Yanira, picked her up that night; it was the last time she was seen alive.
Her body wasn’t found until May 12th in rural Walla Walla County, when cellphone data lead investigators to the spot.
Lanny recalled that day.
“He’s like .. we found a body. I was like oh my God this is it. We wanted this so bad, but hearing it, it was the hardest thing ever it was like reliving it all over again,” she said.
Since Yanira went missing, her family organized searches spanning from Moses Lake to Hermiston.
“We went down there already, to see it and just, put a little memorial place for her I mean, we would have never guessed, we would’ve never found it on our own there’s no way,” Lanny said.
Family is still waiting on an official cause of death, which could delay the start of Gastelum’s trial.
“It’s gonna be five to six months, until that; all those tests come back, I mean we were able to say goodbye to her,” she said.
Lanny expressed her family’s gratitude for all the support they’ve received for Yanira and her three children, who are now being raised by their grandma.
“Relying really heavily on God and that he’s in control and getting our strength from him and just sticking together as a family and doing what we need to do first and then we can grieve,” she said.
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