Ohio Man Arrested in Murder of Missing 'Acquaintance' Who Disappeared 3 Weeks Ago

An Ohio man has been arrested in the murder of a woman who disappeared in January. 

Robert Cruz, 54, is accused in the killing of 46-year-old Michelle Opaliski, who was reported missing on Jan. 18. 

"They were acquaintances," Lorain Police Detective Sergeant Tabitha Angello tells PEOPLE. "We received some information that led him to be a person of interest." 

Opaliski's murder was the City of Lorain's first homicide this year.

Opaliski last spoke to family members two days earlier. 

"The family usually talked to her on a daily basis and they hadn't heard from her since the 16th," Angello says.

Her truck was found in Lorain after a tip from the public. 

"The vehicle was parked in front of someone's house and not normally parked out there," says Angello. "We sent officers out and recovered her vehicle."

Officers found blood inside the vehicle.

Opaliski's body was found on the afternoon of Jan. 22, around two miles from where her car was found, near an access gate for the Sacred Heart Chapel in Lorain. 

Cruz was taken into custody on Jan. 22 for a parole violation and was served with a murder warrant on Feb. 2. 

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Angello says Cruz had served time in federal prison for bank robbery. 

Cruz is now in county jail. His bail was set at $1 million. It's unclear if he has entered a plea or retained an attorney.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 10. 

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Detective Sergeant Angello at (440) 204-2105.


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