The Jeffco Sheriff’s Office has identified the body of a woman found murdered on May 8 near the parking lot of the Windy Saddle Trailhead on Lookout Mountain as Sandra Mercado, 38, of Aurora.
Mercado was stabbed to death, said sheriff’s spokeswoman Jacki Kelley.
A visiting out-of-state hiker found the body. The hiker was questioned and is not considered a person of interest in the case, Kelley said.
Kelley declined to say if investigators believe the woman was killed on Lookout Mountain or if the slaying occurred elsewhere. Sheriff’s investigators spent nearly 24 hours processing the crime scene last week before it was reopened to the public.
“Some details of the investigation we’re holding very close to our chest, just because we have a suspect at large,” Kelley said. “There’s a need to be very cautious about what to release publicly.”
Mercado apparently lived and worked in Aurora. She was identified by her fingerprints, which were on file with law enforcement because of a previous criminal history, Kelley said. Kelley declined to give details of Mercado’s criminal history, including whether or not it might have played a role in her death.
“Everything is a possibility. Is her criminal history a factor? I don’t know. Is it something we’ll take a look at? Absolutely,” Kelley said.
Mercado’s previous married name was Sandra Meza. Her birth name was Sandra Walker. Her name was not released for several days while investigators looked for her next of kin, Kelley said.
Sheriff’s investigators are asking anyone with information about Mercado to call their office at 303-271-5612 or Crimestoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867).