Arrest report: Teacher's slaying followed fight with intoxicated spouse
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) - It didn't take police long to nail down a husband as a prime suspect in his wife's murder. However, it took days for investigators to have enough probable cause to put him in handcuffs.
Mark Franta filed a missing persons report for his wife of 25 years only hours after a woman's body was discovered behind a northwest valley Albertsons. At that time, police knew there may be a connection between the missing woman and homicide victim. They just needed to prove it.
Mark Franta was eventually taken into custody on Wednesday night, after his wife's body was identified by the Clark County Coroner. Police also got a hold of surveillance video that reportedly linked him to his wife's killing.
Through his arrest report, we're learning much more about how his 49 year old wife ended up in the desert.
An autopsy revealing that the Molasky Junior High School teacher was suffocated and had blunt force trauma to much of her body.
Her husband's arrest report reveals that she returned home from a wedding on Saturday night. Mark Franta apparently had been drinking and was intoxicated.
Police believe the two got in an argument which ultimately led to Marybeth's death. Police documents allege that he likely loaded her body into the back of their Mazda Tribute.
"When people commit these heinous crimes, I think in their mind, they're doing everything to cover their tracks," said Sgt. William Scott with Metro Homicide.
According to police documents, Mark Franta was captured on surveillance video at a nearby Albertson's. That video reportedly shows him parking the SUV in the store's lot at 1:30 a.m., walking away from the vehicle.
Detectives believe at some previous point he unloaded his wife's body from the back of the SUV.
His arrest report says the night of his wife's slaying "he acknowledged that alcohol caused problems in his life and his relationship with Marybeth".
Documents also allege that Mark Franta was initially stopped by police while walking away from the SUV over the weekend. He was questioned by officers because he appeared to be drunk but was later let go.
He's currently being held without bail and is set to appear in court on Monday. Police say he still hasn't directly confessed to the crime or given any indication of a clear motive.
Police say there were no prior domestic violence calls to the couple's home, though in many cases such abuse goes unreported.
"Those friends of the families who know that some domestic abuse is going on, they need to step forth and report that, because unfortunately this is what you get in the end," added Sgt. Scott.
A public viewing for Marybeth Franta is set for Friday from noon to 6 p.m. at Palm Mortuary on Cheyenne.
Stay with Action News.