Crime - Sacto 911

Oroville man arrested in cold case involving wife missing since 1978

Deborah Diane Owens
Deborah Diane Owens

A felony arrest warrant has been filed for a Butte County man in the 1978 disappearance of his wife.

The arrest warrant for Marvin G. Owens, 62, charges him with the murder of his wife Deborah Diane Owens. He will be extradited from Keith County, Neb., where he was arrested by deputies.

Deborah Owens was reported missing by her husband on Nov. 21, 1978, two days after he said he last saw her. Deborah Owens, then 23, was living with her children and husband in Oroville.

Since then, her now grown children have not heard from their mother. Marvin Owens has long been suspected of killing and disposing her body, according to a Butte County Sheriff’s press release.

Her remains have never been found.

Former Sheriff Perry Reniff, working Butte County cold cases, has spearheaded the investigation into her disappearance. As a result of the investigation, the warrant was filed.

Investigators are also looking into a possible connection between the disappearance of Deborah Owens and another missing Butte County woman, Essie Margarette Hiett. Hiett was last seen on Feb. 13, 1978 leaving the Rusty Jacks card room in Oroville where she worked as a waitress and bartender.

She was driving her 1975 Oldsmobile that was found wrecked in a ditch. Hiett is also still missing.

Foul play is suspected.

Call The Bee’s Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.