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Trial Begins In Killing Of Phoenix Woman On Spanish Pilgrimage

A trial got underway Monday for a Spanish man charged with killing a Phoenix woman while she was walking a world-renowned pilgrimage route in Spain. The suspect is scheduled to take the stand Tuesday.

Miguel Angel Munoz is accused of killing Denise Pikka Thiem. Thiem went missing in April 2015 in a rural area of northwestern Spain while following the Camino de Santiago, a popular pilgrimage also called the St. James Way. 

Five months later, police detained Munoz, who led investigators to the place near the Camino path where Thiem's body was partly buried. Munoz originally confessed to having killed Thiem, but he has since retracted the confession and testified that he only found the body. The trial is expected to last until April 3. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Stina Sieg was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2013 to 2018.