Sexual assault charges filed against Fort Collins murder suspect

Jeffrey Etheridge made his first appearance after his arrest - authorities won't say what evidence it was they found linking him to the woman's death

FORT COLLINS COLORADOAN - The man charged with the murder of a Fort Collins woman whose body was found in Sheldon Lake at City Park now faces additional charges of kidnapping and sexual assault.

Clad in a red jail jumpsuit reserved for high-risk or maximum security inmates, 27-year-old Jeffrey Etheridge made his first appearance at the Larimer County Justice Center on Friday morning. The 11-minute hearing included a discussion of Etheridge's charges and a squabble over DNA swabs and fingerprints.

Etheridge stood still and looked straight ahead throughout the hearing, looking to the audience only as law enforcement officers shuffled him into and out of the courtroom.

Etheridge faces charges of first-degree murder, second-degree kidnapping and sexual assault, all felonies. Court records reveal the time Etheridge allegedly committed the crimes at 3 a.m. on June 21, about 15 hours before a bystander discovered the body of 23-year-old Heather "Helena" Hoffman floating in the lake.

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