MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Maple Grove man has been charged with second-degree murder in Hennepin County court for allegedly killing his 28-year-old wife last week.

According to a criminal complaint, investigators believe Joshua Fury killed Maria Fury because the couple was having marital problems and she intended to leave him.

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After obtaining a search warrant, police brought dogs that were trained to detect the scent of human remains into the Fury home. An animal indicated that a body was present in a crawl space in the lower level of the house.

The space was less than four feet tall with a dirt floor. After securing an additional search warrant, police officers took turns digging in the crawl space, and after hours of work Maria Fury’s body was discovered at 1:30 a.m. on Saturday.

The search for her had started on Thursday, April 30 when she was reported missing.

Police say Joshua Fury seemed genuinely concerned about his wife’s wellbeing. However, while speaking with friends and family, investigators say Joshua Fury was described as controlling and possessive. Law enforcement searched extensively for Maria, including the use of helicopter flyovers.

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A large search was scheduled for her later on Saturday, May 2 at 10 a.m., but after her body was found early that same morning the search was called off.

Charging documents say her cause of death is believed to be asphyxiation from a plastic bag taped over her head and nose. Her husband allegedly blamed her disappearance on an old boyfriend, but later told police “they had a fight Thursday morning in which he strangled her and then put the plastic over her face.”

Joshua is expected to make his first court appearance on Wednesday. Prosecutors say they will move to set bail at $2 million because of the violent nature of the offense and subsequent cover up.

Maria Fury’s family released this statement Tuesday:

Maria Pew is a victim of a horrific, unthinkable crime. 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.

Maria was a desired child. She was welcomed as an infant, adopted from Mexico City, into a large loving family with numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and two adoring loving parents, all whom she deeply loved in return. Maria was an intense feeler. As a multicultural person with a beyond white perspective, she was someone who saw the world from the other’s perspective. This approach framed her intolerance for the unnecessary, her dislike of phony, allowing her to be content with who she was, and not concerned about how others may see her.

Maria was a cheerleader, literally and figuratively. She was a cum laude college graduate, an exercise queen, and a big eater of little portions. She was someone who noticed clouds, sea shells, waves, and sand, but could trip over the biggest object in a room. A believer in change and redemption, Maria always helped fix other’s broken wings; she was hopeful and always optimistic. Maria was quirky with a dry sense of humor, resulting in hundreds of funny stories that will forever make us smile.

A dog, a horse, and an all around animal lover, Maria was a girl who kept toys for her “little wiggle butt”, her 90 pound black lab, in a Victoria’s Secret tote, and wrapped him up in her “Vicky blanket”. After being taught how to ride a horse by her dad, Maria rode “Buddy Buck Snipe”, an old fat horse who barely moved for anyone else but her. With Maria on his back, he was a slim and fast gelding. Maria’s dad also taught her to water ski, wake board, fish, hunt, ride a snowmobile, snowboard, drive a large truck safely in Minnesota winters, and cross country ski. At the age of 2 ½ years, her dad was certain Maria would be the first Mexican-American Olympic gold medalist on the U.S. cross country ski team.

Maria was a striver, an achiever, a pusher, a problem solver, and a doer; always putting those attributes to use. Maria did not need or want a big life. She wanted a small and personal life, with just a few in it, to whom she gave her love to intensely. She was private and introverted at times, yet always smiling, generous, warm and welcoming. Her ability to be in the moment, to just experience a new joy, was a remarkable trait about Maria.

A friend once said that Maria was loved and cared for by two people who could not possibly love her more. Maria’s mom and dad loved watching her walk into a room, or pick up the phone when she called. She’d always say, “Hi guys. How’s work? How are you doing?” She would end the conversation by telling them that she loved them, and they would always say that they loved her too. At the start of Covid-19, Maria often told her parents “Mom and Dad, you need to be careful. I can’t lose you.”

Maria’s mom and dad never thought they would lose her. They thought she would be there to hold their hand when it was their time to pass. Instead today, Maria’s dad talked to both the medical examiner and the funeral home, managing unthinkable details for his only child.

In an effort to change the ending of Maria’s story for other women, we ask that you please consider supporting Cornerstone Advocacy Services’ safe housing program. If we can change the outcome for at least one woman, Maria would be so proud and honored. Donations can be made here in honor of “Maria’s Voice” here or here

We would like to thank the Maple Grove Police Department for their swift action in finding Maria. They devoted extensive resources, all the while demonstrating extreme professionalism and compassion. We are grateful for their expertise and kind manner during an excruciatingly difficult time. Mostly, we thank these first responders for treating Maria as if she were their missing child.

Thank you to our entire community for your incredible outpouring of love and support.

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(credit: Family of Maria Fury)