AP NEWS

Longmont Police Name Suspect in Disappearance of Rita Gutierrez-Garcia

July 19, 2018 GMT

Longmont police have named Juan Jose Figueroa, Jr. as the suspect in the case of missing woman Rita Gutierrez-Garcia.

Figueroa, 29, has not yet been formally charged in the case, according to a news release from Longmont police Deputy Chief Jeff Satur.

Gutierrez-Garcia, a 34-year-old mother of three, has been missing since March 18 . She was celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with friends and family at bars in downtown Longmont and was last seen in a city parking lot behind 3′s Bar.

Figueroa was the last person with whom Gutierrez-Garcia was seen the night she disappeared, Satur said in a phone interview. Satur said he is not aware of any personal relationship between the two.

Police would not confirm if Figueroa was a suspect in the case previously, as they awaited results from evidence submitted to both the Colorado Bureau of Information and another forensic laboratory they are not disclosing at this time.

Based on the results of the testing, police have confirmed that Figueroa is a suspect, Satur said. He would not say what evidence was tested, but Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty has previously said that evidence was sent for a number of different tests, including DNA and forensic analysis of electronics.

Figueroa is currently in jail on a $1 million bond for a separate case in which he’s accused of strangling and raping a woman he met at a bar in downtown Longmont. He is being held at Jefferson County Jail following an incident at Boulder County Jail where he was assaulted by another inmate.

Longmont police are still offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who can provide information that will help them locate Gutierrez-Garcia’s body.

“We have our theories, but there’s a lot of land and territory out here,” Satur said. He is asking people to search dirt and mountain roads if they have time, especially around rural areas like Rabbit Mountain, the Peak-to-Peak Highway and Jamestown.

Figueroa was detained on the warrant for the sexual assault case at the Mexican Border in Maverick County, Texas just over a week after Gutierrez-Garcia went missing.

Satur said it’s possible that Gutierrez-Garcia’s body is in another state, but very unlikely that she is at the border. He also said it’s unlikely that Figueroa would travel that far with her body in his car.

Madeline St. Amour: 303-684-5212, mstamour@prairiemountainmedia.com