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Missing woman found dead near landfill south of the Valley

Her death is being investigated as a homicide
Posted at 11:15 AM, Dec 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-20 16:05:52-05

MOBILE, AZ — A missing woman who was found dead near a landfill south of the Valley is believed to have been the victim of a homicide, officials say.

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office says 38-year-old Crystal Uptain’s body was found near a landfill in Mobile, Arizona, near Maricopa, on Dec. 5.

She had been reported missing by the Maricopa Police Department in late November.

Her body was found with "suspicious circumstances involving the scene" and "unexplained injuries."

“I just want justice for Crystal. She deserves justice. 100%, this should never have happened,” said Erik Bontreger, Uptain’s friend since high school.

Bontreger, and other friends ABC15 spoke with – who did not want to go on camera – tell ABC15 she was the “sweetest” person. They said she went through some hardships in her life, but despite all of that, she still showed up, had a positive attitude, and would be the light for others.

“Just the greatest, loveliest person. People say that about their loved ones, I know. But it was true when it came to Crystal. There were few good people like her, as good as her. The fact that she was removed in this fashion... It racks my brain. I have no words for it. It’s too much to even fathom,” Bontreger said.

On Thursday, MCSO said there are no new updates. Authorities are also still looking for her vehicle.

ABC15 also got in touch with Uptain’s partner, who said he is not making any public comments.