Crime

Maria Astorga's Body Dumped Near I-70, Search on for Suspect Javier Huerta


This past Sunday, a Colorado Department of Transportation worker made a grisly discovery.

A woman's body was found along Interstate 70.

Days later, the victim was identified as Maria Maricela Astorga-Chavez, a 32-year-old who'd been reported missing several days earlier.

Her death is being investigated as a homicide — and the prime suspect is Javier Huerta, the man with whom she was last seen.

On August 13, the West Valley City Police Department  noted that Astorga-Chavez had vanished a week earlier, on the evening of August 6, after climbing into a white Ford Expedition with Huerta.

The department shared this photo of Huerta....


...as well as this one....


...and this one:


The release featured this unnerving line: "Maria's behavior leading up to her disappearance was out of character and we would like to make sure that she is okay."

Cut to 1:30 p.m. on August 16, when the aforementioned CDOT worker discovered a dead woman along I-70 in Summit County.

A release from the Summit County Sheriff's Office reportedly noted that the body was near mile marker 210, between the Eisenhower Tunnel and the Silverthorne exit.

Here's an interactive graphic showing the area. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View on Google Maps."


The West Valley City department has now revealed that authorities in Colorado have positively identified the body as that of Astorga-Chavez.

In the meantime, Huerta remains at large.

He's described as a five-foot, ten-inch, 160 pound Hispanic man who's also been known to use the name Jorge Martinez, as well as other aliases.

If you have any information about Huerta's whereabouts, you're encouraged to contact the WVCPD at 801-840-4000.

In the meantime, our condolences to the friends, family and loved ones of Maria Maricela Astorga-Chavez.

Here's a larger look at the photo of Astorga-Chavez at the top of this post.


Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts