Maya Millete
Pablito Tabalanza, Maya Millete’s father took the stand Tuesday. Screenshot via CBS 8 livestream

The father of a missing Chula Vista woman allegedly murdered by her husband testified Tuesday that while searching for his daughter, her husband falsely claimed she was in an upstairs bedroom at their home.

Pablito Tabalanza testified that two days after his daughter, May “Maya” Millete, disappeared, he traveled to her Chula Vista home to look for her.

May’s husband, Larry Millete, was there and told Tabalanza that May was in an upstairs bedroom. Tabalanza, speaking through an interpreter, testified that he knocked on the locked bedroom door several times and received no response.

Tabalanza said he asked Larry if he had a key to the door and Larry produced one from his pocket.

After unlocking and opening the door, May was nowhere to be found inside. Tabalanza testified that Larry’s first reaction was to point out that a credit card was missing from May’s desk. Larry later said May was probably out hiking or jogging, he testified.

Tabalanza also testified that on a prior occasion, Millete had shown him a gun and said was going to kill someone, but didn’t specify who.

May Millete has not been seen or heard from since Jan. 7, 2021.

Prosecutors allege Larry Millete, 41, killed her because she was seeking a divorce. In a court declaration in a separate court case, Millete stated that he believed his wife left their home voluntarily.

Tabalanza testified Tuesday as part of a multiweek court proceeding in which a judge will decide if there is enough evidence for Larry Millete to stand trial for murder.

The preliminary hearing began last week and included testimony from May Millete’s siblings.

Her younger brother, Jay-R Tabalanza, testified Friday that he also went to the Millete home on Jan. 9, 2021, to look for his sister and was told that she was in the upstairs bedroom. Jay-R testified that upon arriving at the home, one of Millete’s daughters told him her mother had been “locked in her room for 11 hours now and she hasn’t fed us.”

Like his father, Jay-R Tabalanza testified that there was no response at the bedroom door.

Jay-R also testified regarding a series of text messages May had sent him in 2020, in which she claimed that Larry was “manipulating” family members and had been trying to control her.

“I’m so tired of his mental and emotional abuse,” she texted Tabalanza. Later she wrote, “He’s got you all in his pockets and I’m alone and isolated … exactly where he wants me to be.”

May Millete said Larry was regularly monitoring her emails, messages, social media, and financial activity and had become  “concerned” about her interactions with other men.

“I’ve stopped being friends with any guys,” she texted her brother, who testified that Larry suspected his wife was having an affair and had expressed a desire to “get the other guy.”

In early 2021, May revealed to several family members, including one of her sisters, Maricris Drouaillet, that she was planning to divorce Larry soon.

“Be ready. It’s going to be a messy divorce,” Drouaillet testified last Thursday, quoting her sister. “If something happens to me, it’s going to be Larry.”

Drouaillet testified that after May disappeared on Jan. 7, 2021, Larry did not appear concerned about his wife’s absence. She testified that as far as she knew, Larry never assisted the family or conducted his own efforts to search for May or spread the word regarding her disappearance.

Prosecutors have alleged that Millete’s efforts to keep his wife in the marriage included employing the services of spell casters, through whom he hoped magic could be used to convince his wife to stay. Later, he allegedly asked the spell casters to render her incapacitated so she could not leave the home.

His messages to spell casters abruptly halted after Jan. 8, save for one message on Jan. 9 that requested that hexes on his wife be removed, according to court papers filed by the prosecution.

City News Service contributed to this article.



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Ellen Bullock