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Suspect arrested after woman found dead in southwestern Colorado

Raeanna "Nikki" Burch-Woodhull, 28, was found dead south of Durango on Saturday, investigators said.
Credit: Colorado Bureau of Investigation

IGNACIO, Colo — A suspect has been arrested after a pregnant woman who had been reported missing was found dead south of Durango in southwestern Colorado Saturday. 

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation said Luis Valenzuela, 34, is facing a second-degree murder charge in connection with the death of Raeanna "Nikki" Burch-Woodhull, 28, of Ignacio. Valenzuela was arrested Saturday and taken to the La Plata County jail, investigators said. His first court appearance is set for Monday.

Burch-Woodhull was found dead in the area of Colorado State Highway 550 and County Road 310, south of Durango, on Saturday. An autopsy will determine how she died.

CBI said Burch-Woodhull was Indigenous and was affiliated with the Omaha tribe. They said she was in the second trimester of her pregnancy. 

CBI sent out an Endangered Missing Alert Saturday afternoon asking the public to be on the lookout for her. In the alert, investigators said she was last seen around 2 a.m. Nov. 27 in Ignacio. 

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Ignacio Police Department, 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, La Plata County Coroner's Office, and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives Office of the Department of Public Safety are conducting the investigation into Burch-Woodhull's death.

CBI said at the end of this month, after the rulemaking process is complete, investigators will be able to issue Missing Indigenous Person Alerts. This new type of alerts is part of a bill signed into law in June that also created the Office of Liaison for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives.



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