Maya Millete has been missing since January 7, 2021 from Chula Vista, California. We have had lots of requests to cover her case in the past.
We will start with some background into her life. Maya or May Tabalanza as she is also known, was born May 1, 1981. She is a Filipino American – she was born in the Philippines but was raised in Hawaii.
Maya attended Admiral Arthur W Radford High School and she later graduated from University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.
Maya met a man named Larry Milette in high school – he had moved to Hawaii from San Diego. I have read that the reason for the move have have possibly been that he was involved in a juvenile gang related assault in 1997 and I guess the family packed up and tried to start fresh.
Maya worked as a civilian employee for the US Navy. The last job Maya held before her disappearance was a contract specialist for the Naval Information Warfare Center.
May and Larry married and Larry served in the US Navy for 5 years. They moved to San Diego together and had three kids.
By 2020, Larry and Maya’s relationship had started to break down. Larry is said to have become controlled and paranoid after he found out that Maya was having an affair. In December 2020, Maya was planning to divorce Larry. Maya’s friends have said that Larry was physically abusive towards Maya and that Maya often feared for the safety of their kids.
So December 2020 is when Maya decided to formally end the marriage. She was last seen alive on January 7, 2021, not very long at all after she made the decision.
She was last seen at the home she had shared with Larry at around 5pm. She had spoken to a divorce attorney earlier that day.
This was two days before the family was set to travel on a planned trip to Big Bear for her daughter’s birthday. Maya’s children at the time of her disappearance were aged 4, 9, and 11.
The following day, January 8, Maya’s relatives became concerned when they could not get in touch with her. They went to the home where Larry told them that Maya had locked herself in a room and had not come out since the previous day.
I guess they had to accept this story and they left. They came back the next day, January 9, and forced Larry to open the door. It was not surprisingly empty and there was no sign of Maya.
Maya’s sister Maricris filed a missing person report that day with the Chula Vista Police Department at 11.18pm on January 9.
On January 10, police officers arrived at Maya’s home (which was in the 2400 block of Paseo Los Gatos in Chila Vista) at around 1am. This was around 2 hours after the missing person report was filed.
Maya’s car was still at the home and her phone was going straight to voicemail.
Searchers contacted hospitals, jails and morgues and found no trace of Maya.
For the next few weeks, many people volunteered their time to search for Maya.
Police found video of Larry backing their black Lexus GX 460 into a position at the home where the rear of the car could not be seen on camera – this was found to have happened on January 8.
There is a timeline online about what allegedly happened on January 8 –
6:45am: Larry and their four-year-old son drive away, leaving the two older children home alone. He leaves his phone at home, and his boss and father call wanting to know where he is.
3:29pm: Larry switches the GPS on to get directions back to their Chula Vista home – a drive of 2.5 hours.
On January 23, 2021, police executed a search warrant at Maya’s home – seems to have taken a long time?
CVPD Lt. Miriam Foxx said that investigators were looking to “obtain any evidence and clues to her current whereabouts.”
“The Chula Vista Police Department’s focus will continue to be locating May safe and in good health,” Foxx said.
Police said Maya’s family had been and continued to be cooperative in the search.
On February 4, Maya’s sister Maricris spoke to the media again and said that Larry had retained a lawyer and that he was no longer cooperating with the investigation.
The searches for Maya continued at this time and it is believed that Larry never took part in a single search.
On February 5, Maya’s family appeared at a news conference and begged for help in the case.
“I’m pleading: Anyone out there, please, anybody, somewhere, somehow might know where my sister’s whereabouts,” Maricris said. “Please, bring her home…her kids, they need their mom. Please, help us find my sister. Anyone out there, if you have any information at all, please help me, help us find my sister. And from the bottom of our hearts, please, we thank you, we thank you, and we thank you.”
CVPD Chief Roxanna Kennedy said detectives were working around the clock on Maya’s case and that details couldn’t be shared so as not to compromise the investigation.
“I want you to know that I’m a mother,” Chief Kennedy said. “And my children are my world, and I know that May’s children meant everything to her. And I want you to know that to hear that May missed her daughter’s birthday hit home with many of our officers and our detectives here at this department that are also parents.”
Around this time, Maricris spoke to NBC about the last time that she saw Maya.
“We were actually out camping, right there at the Glamis Dunes – Glamis Dunes Imperial Valley – last new year. So, Jan. 3 was the last time that we did – we saw her,” Maricris t said.
She said it was tough to see her sister and Larry on that trip, knowing “they had been having marital problems for the last year.”
“They tried to work it out,” she told NBC 7. “They did have, you know, marriage counseling, and we did try to kind of help them out to work out their relationship. But it’s been on and off, on and off.”
Maricris said on that camping trip, they saw “a lot of arguments” between the Milletes.
“We felt sometimes uncomfortable about it, too,” Maricris said. “But you know, we were just praying and hoping they would be able to work it out. We didn’t see this coming, you know, after that.”
In April 2021, a neighbor came forward with CCTV audio in which 8 loud bangs can be heard on the night that Maya vanished.
Also in April 2021, police carried out a search warrant at the home of Larry’s aunt and uncle. Investigators took guns and other evidence, including half a dozen long rifles.
April 7 marked exactly three months since Maya vanished. CVPD Lt. Dan Peak detailed the investigative steps from the department on this high-profile case, which he said includes:
Interviews with 47 of Maya’s family members, friends, neighbors and witnesses.
The writing of 12 search warrants, which includes homes, cars, cellphones and electronic devices, call detail records, financial records, social media, and cloud data. Peak said one of these warrants was for Maya’s home on Jan. 23.
Review of 40+ tips regarding this case.
“Detectives are reviewing multiple items of evidence and going over thousands of pages of data in the hopes of finding May,” read a press release from the CVPD on April 7.
May 1, 2021 marked Maya’s 40th birthday.
“It’s really, really hard for me this week,” Maricris told NBC 7. “I’m feeling it more, heavier.”
Maricris’ husband Richard also spoke about his thoughts on the case. “I feel like it should have been a homicide a long time ago,” Richard said. “This whole ‘her getting up and leaving her kids’ would never happen. It’s just so obvious what’s going on, and, unfortunately, it’s too bad that they don’t see it that way.”
Larry was served with the order on May 5, according to the San Diego Sheriff’s Department public records.
A Gun Violence Restraining Order is a court order that prohibits the person from having in his or her custody or control, own or possess, or receive any firearms or ammunition while the order is in effect. The petitioner must convince the Judge that the person to be restrained poses a significant danger in the near future of:
causing personal injury to himself/herself, or another person by having:
in his/her custody, or control, owning, purchasing, or receiving a firearm.
It is believe that Larrys’ children reportedly knew the passcode to his gun safe and a photo was presented showing his 4-year-old son standing on a table, surrounded by firearms.
On May 7, police executed another search at Larry and Maya’s home.
Officers were seen loading things into the back of a van parked in the driveway while others led K9’s around the property. What appeared to be rifles and boxes typically used to store ammunition were loaded into the van.
Another search was carried out at the home on July 1, 2021.
On July 22, 2021 Larry was finally named as a person of interest in Maya’s disappearance. “Due to the sensitivity of the case and to protect the integrity of the investigation, we will not be providing additional information at this time,” CVPD said.
On September 8, 2021, family court documents emerged, showing issues between Larry and Maya’s family.
In the spring, Pablito and Noemi Tabalanza asked for visiting rights with their three grandchildren. Then on Sept. 2, Larry fired back in a nine-page declaration sharing several accusations as to why he does not want his in-laws visiting their grandchildren.
Claims Larry made include his concerns of the children going over their grandparent’s home in Moreno Valley citing that the grandfather is a “heavy chain smoker.”
In the declaration, Larry wrote: “Her father also does not speak English very well and has never shown any interest with bonding with our children. Pablito even stated that he doesn’t care if our children ended up living in the streets in Tagalog.”
On September 14, the Temporary Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) against husband Larry was set to expire but was reissued after the case was granted stipulated continuance. A new hearing date was set for December 1.
On October 19, 2021, the CVPD arrested Larry for the murder of Maya.
“Today, the Chula Vista Police Department is announcing the arrest of Larry Millete for the murder of his wife, May,” they said in a news release.
San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said that Larry was facing two charges. Count 1, she said, alleged that Larry had killed Maya in violation of Penal Code 187 — murder. The second count had to do with the illegal possession of an assault rifle.
On October 21, 2021, Larry pleaded not guilty. He was held at the time without bail.
On October 27, 2021, a criminal protective order was issued preventing Larry from contacting his three children.
Deputy District Attorney Christy Bowles told the court that since his arrest, Larry had made 129 phone calls to his parent’s home where his children are living.
The Deputy DA said at least nine hours of calls, which were recorded, take place with his children.
There has been a lot of back and forward in court regarding custody of Maya’s children. In November 2021, a judge deferred a decision after Maricris sought temporary custody, with a view to having the kids permanently. It was ruled at the time that the children should stay with Larry’s parents. The judge did, however, grant visitation rights to the children’s relatives starting Nov. 14, when Maricris and her family could meet with the children for a three hour period. The judge also ordered Larry’s parents to find mental-health care providers for the children.
Temporary guardianship of the children was eventually given to Larry’s parents until April 2022.
Since Maya disappeared, we have learned that in December 2020, Larry was getting increasingly panicked and he decided to try to cast a spell or a hex on Maya. Authorities found one message to a spellcaster in which Larry wrote, “Please punish May and incapacitate her enough so she can’t leave the house. It’s time to take the gloves off.”
Another message that Larry sent to a spellcaster read:
‘Can you hex to have her hurt enough that she will have to depend on me or need my help?’ She’s only nice to me when she needs me or [is] sick. Thanks again. Maybe [an] accident or broken bone.’
Larry also created a bloody shrine for Maya.
Details about Larry’s internet searches in the day before the disappearance have also been revealed
He also researched prescription strength sedatives, like Rohypnol, capable of quickly incapacitating those who ingest them.
‘In December of 2020, Larry conducted a search entitled: ‘my wife doesn’t want me to touch her’ and then searched for ‘Flunitrazepan, Rohypnol, and diphenhydramine.”
Please note that Maya’s last name is sometimes spelled Millette in the media. I believe Millete is the correct spelling and we have used that in the blog.