Faustino Cruz-Marquez, 26, of Manorville, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter against Maria Carmelina Velasquez-Zhau in Suffolk County Court on Wednesday, May 3.

The 37-year-old victim disappeared on July 28, 2020, from Cosmos Farm in Manorville, where she worked and lived.

Cruz-Marks also works and lives on the farm, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.

The next day, July 29, the rancher realized the woman was missing and led several searches to find her. The owner also notified her family in Queens and New Jersey.

On July 30, Velasquez-Zhau’s body was finally found in a wooded area on the outskirts of the farm.

An autopsy determined she died of “homicide violence” and was strangled, prosecutors said.

Another farm worker, Javier Santos-Moreno, told investigators he witnessed a fight between Velasquez-Zhau and Cruz-Marquez in the workers’ kitchen on the day she disappeared.

Witnesses told police that the victim accused Cruz-Marquez of damaging the produce so it could not be sold.

The same witness also told investigators that Cruz-Marquez called him later, admitted to choking Velázquez-Zhao to death, and threatened to hurt him if he told anyone about their altercation.

According to prosecutors, DNA evidence was found on the victim’s nails linking Cruz-Marquez to the murder. Detectives also found pictures of his injuries on his phone.

His guilty plea came on the third day of the jury trial.

“A simple workplace dispute should not have resulted in the killing of Maria Carmelina Velasquez-Chao,” Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney said in a statement.

“We are satisfied that now that the defendant has accepted responsibility for his crimes, justice has been served and that he will not inflict further suffering on the victim’s family throughout the trial.”

Cruz-Marquez is expected to be sentenced to 13 years in prison, with five years of post-release supervision, when he is sentenced on Monday, June 5.

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