Heidi Paz's Remains Were Found in a Suitcase — What Happened to Her?

Heidi Paz's remains were found in a suitcase. The building where the suitcase was located in had partially burned down.

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

May 9 2024, Published 4:07 p.m. ET

According to El Heraldo, Heidi Paz's mother was always worried about the man her daughter was dating. Gloria Bulnes saw very controlling behavior on the part of César Román pretty early on in his relationship with her daughter. Paz would often be semi-present when spending time with her mother because Román called so frequently. Bulnes said at times, Román would call about every five minutes and she told her daughter that she "didn't like such things."

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What made Bulnes even more suspicious, was the fact that Román asked Paz to marry him a mere month into dating. This was after he had paid for breast augmentation surgery for Paz. Their whirlwind romance lasted from April 2018 until August of that year when Paz disappeared. On Aug. 13, 2018, Paz's remains were found in a suitcase housed in a warehouse that had caught on fire, per Madrid Metropolitan. What happened to Heidi Paz? Here's what we know.

Heidi Paz poses with her boyfriend, chef César Román
Source: YouTube/Archivo Criminal

Heidi Paz (L) and César Román (R)

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What happened to Heidi Paz? She dared to say no.

The Sun reports that Román was known as The King of Cachopo, which is "one of the signature dishes of Asturias, a province on the wild north coast of Spain." If you're into a fried steak sandwich with ham and cheese, this is for you. He was a rising star in the culinary world when Román and Paz met in Madrid, Spain.

Soon after their quick engagement, Paz began questioning her decision. Her mother would later testify that there was evidence of physical abuse, such as the time Paz attributed some bruises to "falling down," er El Heraldo. In June 2018, Paz left Román a note in the house they shared letting him know she was leaving. On Aug. 5 she reached out while en route to their home to see if he could chat. That was the last time anyone heard from her.

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Eight days later what was left of Paz's body was found stuffed in a suitcase after firefighters were called to a warehouse that was on fire. The suitcase was hidden in the building that had been rented by Román. By the time authorities found Paz's body, Román had vanished and canceled his cell phone. "The police arrested him three months later in Zaragoza, where he had been living under a false identity, working as a cook," reported the Madrid Metropolitan.

César Román holding two plates of his signature dish
Source: Netflix
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Where is César Román now?

Román's trial began three years later. The evidence against him was overwhelming. Bulnes was able to testify about their toxic relationship. A real blow to the defense came when Bulnes identified the suitcase as belonging to Román. When asked how she knew it was his, Bulnes said, "Because I helped him move when they moved to my house."

Sadly, the fire's intensity meant that the medical examiner couldn't establish a cause of death, although it's believed Paz might have been stabbed to death. "National Police, who were present at the autopsy of Heidi Paz’s torso, told the court that it had been cut," via the Madrid Metropolitan. Román suggested that Paz was "either living in her native Honduras or had been killed by an alleged organized drug gang," and maintained the remains in the suitcase didn't belong to his ex-fiancée.

On June 1, 2021, Román was sentenced to 15 years in prison and was ordered to pay nearly 250,000 euros to Bulnes. The El Heraldo reported that in April 2024, Román wrote a letter from the Soto del Real penitentiary center confessing his crimes. "I inform the Provincial Court of Madrid of my recognition of the crime committed, my regret and in which I ask for forgiveness from the victim's family," he wrote. He went on to say, "I want to humbly ask for forgiveness from Heidi's family and everyone affected by my deplorable actions."

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