- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 21, 2006

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. — An arrest was made late Tuesday in the vehicle-dragging death of a Colorado woman, with authorities charging a man who left behind a photo of himself at the crime scene and is suspected of being an illegal alien.

Jose Luis Rubi-Nava, 36, was being held without bail yesterday on first-degree murder charges. Douglas County Sheriff Dave Weaver said he had placed an immigration hold on the prisoner and notified Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the arrest.

Investigators tracked down the suspect after finding a photograph of him and a woman at the crime scene in the Surrey Ridge subdivision, Sheriff Weaver said.

“It has not been determined if the female in the photograph is our deceased victim,” he said.

Identifying the victim, whose body was found Monday, has been difficult because her face was unrecognizable after she was dragged for about 1 miles on a paved road in the rural community about 20 miles south of Denver.

Preliminary autopsy results say that the victim was alive when she was tied to the vehicle and that she died of asphyxiation and head injuries. An orange tow rope was found around her neck.

Records obtained by KUSA-TV, the Denver NBC affiliate, showed that Rubi-Nava was arrested April 21 and charged with false identification and driving without a driver’s license and proof of insurance.

The arrest comes four days after the murder conviction of Raul Gomez-Garcia, an illegal Mexican alien who last year killed Denver Police Detective Donald Young. Gomez-Garcia also had been cited in the months before the killing on traffic-related charges stemming from his illegal status but was never detained or reported to federal immigration authorities.

“It’s horrifying,” said former state Senate President John Andrews, referring to the dragging death. “This is another case where police had an opportunity to apprehend someone before he could commit a more serious crime, and they didn’t do it.”

Rep. Tom Tancredo, whose district includes the Surrey Ridge neighborhood, said the federal government shared “a certain degree of responsibility” for the woman’s slaying.

“This is another example of what happens when you have no control over your borders,” said the Republican, a vocal proponent of immigration reform.

The dragging death left a weaving, mile-long trail of blood and clothing scraps along Surrey Road. Washing the road with high-power hoses failed to wipe out the blood, so the county yesterday sent a road crew to resurface the street.

“It was kind of horrible seeing this trail every time you drove through the neighborhood,” said Surrey Ridge resident Sharon Braddock. “I can’t believe someone could do that to another human being.”

Sheriff Weaver emphasized to rattled residents that their neighborhood hadn’t been targeted by the killer.

Authorities said that the victim was about 5 feet tall with long auburn hair and green or hazel eyes and that she could have been white, Hispanic or American Indian. The woman in the photograph is heavyset, has short black hair and appears to be Hispanic.

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