Sandra Mercado found murdered on Lookout Mountain, but was it the crime scene? (51)
It took authorities in Jefferson County days to learn the identity of a body found on Lookout Mountain -- and even longer to discover that 38-year-old Sandra Mercado, previously known as Sandra Walker (her maiden name) and Sandra Meza (her married name), moved to Colorado shortly before her death.
Sandra Mercado. See more photos plus a video below.
Now, law enforcers are trying to figure out who killed her and where the crime took place.
On May 8, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, deputies were dispatched to the Windy Saddle Trailhead on Lookout Mountain.
This image, showing the area where Mercado's body was discovered, and those that follow are from 7News coverage unless otherwise noted.
There, a hiker had made a grisly discover -- the body of a woman who appeared to have been stabbed to death.
Jeffco authorities spent nearly 24 hours processing the scene before the area was reopened to the public. Yet they're still not certain if the crime actually took place at our near the site or if Mercado was killed elsewhere, after which her body was dumped in the lot.
Only yesterday did officials publicly identify the victim in the case as Mercado. In their initial release, she was said to have "no known connection to Colorado, but does have previous ties to Nevada and California." Not long thereafter, however, the JCSO corrected that to reveal she was living and working in Aurora at the time of her death.
A photo of Mercado distributed by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.
More information about Mercado comes from 7News. Turns out she relocated to Aurora in February and had been working at a Mexican restaurant in the city.
She also had an unspecified criminal past and was engaged to marry a California inmate upon his release. Indeed, her first residence upon her arrival in Colorado was with the man's mom.
The restaurant where Mercado worked.
There's no telling at this point if this background will help investigators discover who ended Mercado's life. As of now, clues to the brutal crime are few and far between.
Another photo of Sandra Mercado.
If you have any information about the death of Sandra Mercado, you're encouraged to contact the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office at 303-271-5612 or Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867). Here's a look at the aforementioned 7News report.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our Mile High Murder archive circa April 18: "Warrant: Richard Kirk may have been on pain meds, pot edible when he killed his wife (50)."