A Palm Springs man pleaded not guilty today to murdering a man whose body was found in the wilderness three months after his disappearance.
Andrew Michael De Los Santos, 26, was charged Monday with murder, with a sentence-enhancing allegation of use of a firearm, in the death of Shane Ayala.
The 21-year-old victim’s remains were found Dec. 19, 2011, by hikers several miles north of Thousand Palms Canyon and Dillon roads in Sky Valley.
Ayala had been reported missing in September 2011, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
De Los Santos was arraigned at the Larson Justice Center in Indio.
He remains in custody without bail and is due back in court April 12 for a felony settlement conference. He is currently representing himself, district attorney’s spokesman John Hall said.
Authorities did not disclose what led them to De Los Santos, who was arrested Thursday near Interstate 10 and Cook Street in Palm Desert, nor discuss a motive for the slaying.
Another man, former Cathedral City resident Luis Raul Diaz, 36, has also been charged with murder for his alleged “involvement in the case,” according to the sheriff’s department. Diaz is in prison for an unrelated crime, and no arraignment date was set.