Del Norte DA: Hughes pleads 'not guilty' to murder charge in death of estranged wife

Hughes was taken into custody Monday night in Del Norte County (Photo: DNSO)

UPDATE 3/1:

Edward Hughes IV pleaded not guilty to the murder charge in his estranged wife's death in Del Norte County court on Feb. 21, according to the Del Norte County District Attorney's Office. He remains in custody on $1 million bail and is set to be in court again on March 11 at 9 a.m. where his preliminary hearing will be scheduled.

UPDATE 2/19: DNSO: Estranged husband, suspect in murder of Crescent City woman, arrested Monday

A man wanted in connection with his wife's death was taken into custody in Del Norte County Monday night.

At around 9:30 p.m. the Del Norte County Sheriff's Office arrested 35-year-old Edward Culver Hughes IV on murder charges near Northcrest Drive and Dell Lane. He is suspected of killing his estranged wife, 31-year-old Emiley Hughes, whose body was discovered at Shelter Island Mobile Home Park on Valentine's Day. Investigators have not indicated a motive, nor cause of death. The murder is believed to have taken place around the end of December, 2018.

"With assistance from the Pelican Bay Crisis Response Team, California Highway Patrol (Crescent City), the DNSO has safely taken Edward Hughes into custody," the DNSO said. "We would also like to thank the numerous calls and reports from our community regarding his whereabouts and other public safety organizations that assisted with this matter."

Sheriff Erik Apperson told North Coast News TV Emiley Hughes's three children are safe and accounted for.

Edward Hughes is being held on $1 million bail in Del Norte County Jail.

UPDATE 2/18: DNSO: Body found in Crescent City home identified as missing woman, 31

The Del Norte County Sheriff's Office says the body found inside a Crescent City mobile home has been identified as Emiley Hughes, 31. Hughes was reported missing earlier this month, according to investigators. Officials say they've also determined her time of death was around the end of December of 2018.

The DNSO is continuing to work with the California Dept. of Justice, Del Norte District Attorney's Office and has also received assistance from other agencies including California Highway Patrol.

Law enforcement officials are still looking for Hughes's estranged husband, Edward "Eddie" Culver Hughes IV, who they say is the primary person of interest in this case.

According to family members, Emiley Hughes leaves three children behind: two boys and a girl.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: DNSO: Body found in home of missing Crescent City woman, estranged husband sought

A body has been found inside the home of a Crescent City woman who was reported missing in February of 2019, according to the Del Norte County Sheriff's Office. Officials have not identified the body found.

According to investigators, the estranged husband of the missing woman, 31-year-old Emiley Hughes, is a person of interest. However, the DNSO also says "we cannot confirm this investigation to be a murder investigation as we do not yet know what lead to the death of the individual we located, although we are treating it as such."

On Feb. 1 the DNSO got a call from Hughes's grandmother, Donna Tesch, reporting she hadn't seen or heard from her granddaughter since Dec. 23. Investigators say they called Emiley's mother Rawnda, who said she hadn't seen her daughter since December.

On Feb. 2, Rawnda called the sheriff's office to say Emiley was with a boyfriend in Eureka, and had no plans of coming home.

"We also received additional information suggesting Emiley was voluntarily missing, but since the DNSO did not receive firsthand information from Emiley, we continued to consider her a missing person," the DNSO said in a press release.

On Feb. 11 the sheriff's office received an anonymous report that Emiley may be dead in her last-known home. Investigators attempted gaining legal entry to the home, and tried to contact Emiley's estranged husband, Edward Culver Hughes IV.

Investigators called Edward and he agreed to meet them at the home, but he never showed up. When they tried to call him again, his phone had been disconnected, according to the DNSO.

On Feb. 14, Emiley’s car was found by a family member, who went to Emiley's home to try and find the keys. When she entered the home, she noticed a suspicious smell. She called the police, and the DNSO responded.

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Officials obtained a search warrant and ultimately found a dead person inside the home, investigators said. The DNSO has not identified the body yet.

Investigators say the body appeared to have been deceased for several weeks. The DNSO has locked the scene down and are maintaining around-the-clock security. The California Dept. of Justice will help with the investigation.

"Edward Culver Hughes IV is the primary person of interest in this matter," the DNSO said. "The DNSO believes he had knowledge of the decedent inside his residence. We are asking for the public's’ assistance in locating him."

Anyone with knowledge of Edward Hughes's whereabouts should contact the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office at 707-464-4191 ext 6.

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