Body of Victim to be Returned to Dominican Republic

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HAZLETON – As authorities in Luzerne County investigate the homicide of a 32-year-old mother, family members are planning funeral services in the Dominican Republic.

A funeral home director in Hazleton told Newswatch 16 that the body of Maria Brea is expected to be flown out of the country and returned to her family by this weekend.

Police found the body of the woman Tuesday inside her apartment on East Diamond Avenue, three days after she was reported missing.

Hazleton City Police Chief Frank DeAndrea said detectives want to question Brea’s ex-boyfriend about her disappearance.

DeAndrea identified Brea’s ex-boyfriend as Oscar Lozano Garcia, but clarified that police have not named any suspects in the missing persons or homicide investigation.

The coroner ruled the cause of Brea’s death as asphyxiation due to strangulation.

Sonia Gonzalez told Newswatch 16 that she worked with Brea at a business in the Humboldt Industrial Park and urged anyone with information about the case to call investigators.

"If they heard something, saw something, please somebody say something. This is a mother that left two kids here, a 14 year old and a 12 year old,” said Gonzalez. “They need their mother; they still need their mother. If anybody knows anything, please come forward."