Miguel Ángel Muñoz Blas, 41, was found guilty and convicted in a court in León, Spain Wednesday of the murder of Denise Pikka Thiem, a 40-year-old Arizona woman. The conviction came exactly two years after she disappeared. Thiem had been visiting Spain and was last seen alive on April 5th, 2015 while walking the French route of the Camino de Santiago in a rural area of the León province of Spain. Muñoz was also convicted of theft with violence, as he stole more than $1,000 from Thiem, exchanging it at a local bank for euros just days after she disappeared.

Senator John McCain offered assistance in solving the case

After Thiem’s disappearance five months went by and her family was desperate to find her. U.S. Senator John McCain got involved, offering FBI help to Spain in an attempt to solve the case. While Spain refused the offer of help, a massive search operation was launched in September 2015 which a few days later led to the arrest of Muñoz. After he was arrested, Muñoz immediately confessed to the crime and told police where the body was buried. According to the Astorga police chief in charge of the investigation, they would never have found Thiem’s body without Muñoz telling them where to look as it was in a deserted rural spot on the farmer's land.

Lured off the pilgrimage trail by Muñoz

Investigators on the case believe Thiem was murdered on the same day that she went missing. She was walking alone between the towns of Astorga and El Ganso and it is thought she may have inadvertently taken a detour and got lost along the way.

Thiem had reportedly followed a yellow arrow, which is a normal marking of the official pilgrimage route. However the yellow arrow in question had reportedly been placed there to lure unsuspecting pilgrims to Muñoz’s home, as, according to El Pais there have been other complaints received from women of harassed by a man matching his description in that area.

As reported by The Local, the autopsy on Thiem showed that she had been beaten with a stick and then died from a knife wound to the throat. Her hands had been cut off, probably to make identifying her remains more difficult, and reportedly have not been found.

Arizona woman’s killer to face sentencing soon

After a trial that lasted more than three weeks, all that remains is for the León Provincial High Court to pass sentence, with the prosecutor calling for 25 years behind bars. Reportedly the sentence is expected to be heard within the next few days.