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Woman found dead in stairwell, suspect arrested

The victim and suspect were in a current or past relationship, according to Denver Police.

DENVER — A 19-year-old woman was found dead Saturday in a stairwell of the YMCA at East 16th Avenue and North Broadway, and a suspect has been arrested, the Denver Police Department (DPD) said.

Officers responded to the building at 8:15 a.m. April 23 on a report of a person who was unconscious in a stairwell, police said. The victim, identified as Namantha Noller Rice, was pronounced dead on the scene.

The Denver Medical Examiner's Office said that the cause of death was from blunt-force injuries and asphyxia.

Investigators identified Innis Lee Collins, 39, as the suspect and took him into custody Tuesday on suspicion of first-degree murder, DPD said.

It was believed that Rice and Collins were in a current or previous relationship, police said. Collins was arrested in February on a domestic violence assault involving a woman who appeared to be Rice, according to the DPD affidavit in the case.

According to the affidavit, at 9:54 p.m. Friday, a person was seen on surveillance camera leaving Collins' apartment in the YMCA building carrying what appeared to be an unconscious person. The person walked in the direction of the stairwell where the victim was found.

Three minutes later, a man was observed leaving the building through a door next to an alley. Seven minutes after that, Collins was observed entering the building and going to his apartment, the affidavit says.

Video surveillance cameras in the area showed Collins walking from the YMCA building at 9:59 p.m. Friday to some nearby dumpsters, where he took off his coat, pants and boots and attempted to throw them into dumpsters. Investigators later went to the dumpsters and found the boots, which had blood on them, the affidavit says.

Investigators executed a search warrant for Collins' apartment and found suspected blood in several spots, the affidavit says.

Collins was being held in the Denver jail without bail.

Credit: Denver Police Department
Innis Lee Collins

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