A “controlling and possessive” Minnesota man has allegedly admitted to fatally strangling his wife when she threatened to leave him, before burying her in a crawl space beneath their home and calling authorities to report her missing in an elaborate scheme to cover-up the crime, authorities said.
Joshua David Fury, 28, was charged Tuesday with murder and second-degree murder for the April 30 slaying of his wife, 28-year-old Maria Fury, whose body was found Saturday after an exhaustive large-scale search that included several helicopter flyovers, according to Hennepin County Attorney’s office. He was being held at Hennepin County Jail on Wednesday.
“He said he strangled her during an argument about [Maria] leaving him,” according to the criminal complaint obtained by The Daily Beast, adding that Fury “placed both hands around [Maria’s] neck and squeezed until he felt a snap” before placing a “plastic bag over her head and nose” until she stopped “death breathing.”
Frantic to cover his crime, Fury told authorities he then wrapped his wife’s arms in duct tape and hid her body in the crawl space under their Maple Grove home before waiting several hours to call the police to report her missing. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office confirmed to The Daily Beast the 28-year-old died of asphyxiation from the duct-taped plastic bag—which was still on her face when she was found.
“Maria Pew is a victim of a horrific, unthinkable crime,” Maria’s family said in a statement. “But we will not allow her to be remembered that way; Maria would hate it if the world saw her as a victim. Maria was so much more. She was our daughter, our niece, our cousin, our friend; she loved her family and was fiercely loyal. A happy, strong, resilient, supportive, and caring individual, Maria did so much in her 28 years. But she also left behind hopes and dreams, and she left undone infinite possibilities.”
According to the complaint, Fury called the Maple Grove Police Department at around 6:00 p.m. on April 30 to report his wife missing, claiming she did not come home after “going for a walk.” He initially said he had returned home an hour earlier to find Maria’s cell phone on the kitchen counter, prompting him to check her normal walking route.
Deputies who responded to the couple’s home outside of Minneapolis immediately launched a search, spending two hours canvassing the surrounding area with the aid of a helicopter. The complaint states that an initial sweep of the couple’s home revealed nothing unusual and noted that Fury “genuinely appeared concerned” about his wife’s wellbeing.
On May 1, authorities continued a large-scale search and began to interview friends and family. During questioning, the complaint says investigators learned about the couple’s marital problems. Maria’s mother expressed her daughter’s intent to leave her husband and friends described Fury as “controlling and possessive.”
That same day, authorities obtained a search warrant for their home with recovery dogs—who found indications of “human remains” in the “lower-level crawl space with a dirt floor covered in plastic.” Authorities discovered the body at about 1:30 a.m. on May 2, after officers spent hours working together “with a system of buckets and tarps to remove the dirt” from the small crawl space.
Throughout the investigation, Fury allegedly gave “multiple statements in which he denied harming” his wife and even attempted to blame his wife’s ex-boyfriend for the crime. The complaint states that after Fury was arrested on May 2, however, he “told police he was telling the truth about everything.”
During a police interview, the 28-year-old admitted to killing his wife and burying her body in the crawl space, stating the crime was spurred by an argument about her leaving him. He told police that after he killed her and wrapped her in the same duct tape he was later going to use to “hang her missing posters,” he cleaned up the house and went to work.
Fury told authorities the murder and cover-up took only two-and-a-half hours.
The complaint says Fury told officers he “suffers from depression and attempted to commit suicide” after he killed his wife. He admitted he’d previously threatened to kill his wife when she said she wanted to leave him.
Adopted as an infant from Mexico City, Maria was described by her family as an “intense feeler” who loved animals, exercise, and her family. In an effort to use their tragic loss to help others, her family launched Maria’s Voice, an online campaign dedicated to raising awareness of domestic violence.
“If we can change the outcome for at least one woman, Maria would be so proud and honored,” the family said in a statement, adding that a push to support safer housing programs might “change the ending of Maria’s story for other women.