Nurse’s boyfriend charged with murder in her disappearance

Zulma L. Pabon (WRIC)

CHESTER, Va. (WRIC) — Police in Chesterfield County, Va., have arrested and charged an Ashland man with murdering a nurse who disappeared two years ago.

Zulma L. Pabon, 26, was last seen leaving St. Francis Medical Center following her shift as a nurse on June 6, 2014. Her car, a 2009 white Nissan Altima, was found on Drumvale Drive in Chester, just south of Richmond, Va., the following Monday.

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After two years of investigating her disappearance as a suspicious missing persons case, investigators concluded that Pabon is dead, even though her remains have not been found.

On Monday, detectives obtained an indictment for first-degree murder against 39-year-old John E. Gibbs II, of the 300 block of Arlington Street in Ashland. Gibbs, who was a person of interest in connection to Pabon’s disappearance, was arrested in Massanutten on Tuesday.

WRIC spoke to her family in North Carolina. Her sister said family members have mixed emotions about the arrest.

“I still have hope,” Pabon’s sister, Yalitza Soba, said. “Sometimes in my heart I know he might have done something, but where is she?”

For Pabon’s family, every day since she disappeared has been a struggle.

“It is a nightmare,” Soba said. “I would never want anybody to go through what we are going through.”

Soba said the arrest doesn’t provide closure, but it is a step in the right direction.

“It’s a battle, we have a long way ahead of us,” Soba said. “We are going to keep fighting for her justice and my nephew’s justice and I look forward to all of that.”

Gibbs was the longtime boyfriend of Pabon and the father of her son, but the relationship was rocky.

“I just know that she wanted a new beginning and before she started that beginning she went missing,” Soba said.

Her family is now hoping this arrest will give them the clues to where she is.

“We still believe she’s out there,” Soba said. “I’m hoping and truly believe that we can find her no matter how the situation goes.”

Gibbs will appear before a judge Wednesday morning.

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