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Maya Millete's family praises supporters as search continues

Maricris Drouaillet.JPG
Alexander Nguyen / KPBS
Maya Millete's sister Maricris Drouaillet was overcome with emotion at the Oct. 19 news conference announcing the arrest of Larry Millete on suspicion of murdering his wife.

On Tuesday, Oct. 19th, Maricris Drouaillet got a phone call confirming her worst fear. The call was from Chula Vista Police Chief Roxana Kennedy, letting her know officers had arrested her brother-in-law, Larry Millete, for her sister's murder.

May "Maya" Millete has been missing since January.

"I was still hoping you know she’s still out there and to hear the chief saying he’d been arrested for murder, that really hurt," Drouaillet told KPBS on Wednesday. "I still couldn’t wrap my mind around it."

RELATED: ‘Bring my sister home;’ desperate plea from Maya Millete’s family as husband Larry arrested on murder charges

Drouaillet said her 39-year-old sister had made up her mind to leave her husband and told the family on New Year’s weekend.

"So she already warned us that she’s going for it the divorce, and she warned us that it’s probably going to be a messy one," Drouaillet said. "I don’t know what she meant by that, I guess financially also in a way but also she knows that Larry is not agreeable to the divorce."

During Tuesday's announcement of the arrest, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan called this a triggering event, as Maya’s last call was made to a divorce attorney.

Larry Millete's attorney said the arrest was based on speculation since Maya's body has not been found. Stephan has said this would not be the first murder case where an arrest is made without a body.

For now, the family is focusing on continuing the search. Thousands of volunteers have taken part in weekly searches for Maya. There is an even larger support group on social media, from as far away as Africa, many of whom join prayer online prayer meetings.

"We are really blessed to have them. They stood by us," Drouaillet said. "Weekend after weekend, they searched with us … we are very fortunate to have these people, strangers who just came together for Maya."

The family said they will spend the next few days searching for Maya in the vast desert of Anza Borrego. They said have a hunch that's where they will find her.

Larry Millete is being held without bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday.

Maya Millete's family praises supporters as search continues