Kelly Mae Myers's Body Was Stuffed in a Suitcase, Two Persons of Interest Named

A few weeks ago, we told you about Kelly Mae Myers, a Grand Junction-area high school student whose body was discovered in Cactus Park two-months-plus after she was first reported missing.

Now, disturbing new details have emerged about the case.

We now know that Myers's body was found stuffed in a suitcase, and two men, Eduardo De La Cruz and Raymond Cordova, have been named persons of interest.

But the situation isn't as simple as it seems at first blush. While De La Cruz and Cordova are currently in custody, they're being held on separate allegations related to an alleged drug ring.

Moreover, while Myers's death, which is thought to have taken place in a Utah hotel room hundreds of miles from where her body was found, has been deemed suspicious, the death hasn't been ruled a homicide at this writing.

As we've reported, Myers, a student at Grand Junction's Central High School, was reported missing in the Grand Junction area late last year, shortly after she posted the Facebook photo seen at the top of this item. Her family last heard from her on December 18.

At first, law enforcers didn't classify her case as a crime because anecdotal evidence suggested she may have left of her own free will — and since she was eighteen, such a choice was perfectly within her rights.

But as time passed, concerns rose. Finally, on January 19, the Mesa County Sheriff's Office issued an alert that contained the following passage:
A few reports to investigators have indicated Kelly might have hitch hiked to Utah. Investigators believe she has friends or known associates in the Salt Lake City area, and may have been trying to get there. Currently, investigators do not have any information she in endangered, however, her family insists this is very unusual behavior for Kelly and a great cause for concern.
"It is not against the law to walk away from your 'life' as an adult," the MCSO item added. "If Kelly is okay and simply wants to be left alone, we would encourage her to contact Investigator Henderson, at (970) 244-3264, so we can share that information with her family."

No such message was received, and over time, worries mounted, with those who loved her sharing posts like this one on social media:

Then, on March 1, came the news that everyone had been hoping against hope would never come.

Here's the sheriff's office Facebook post:
Kelly Mae is with deep sympathy we notify our community that her remains were recovered in a remote Mesa County area, yesterday. This death investigation is active and on-going, so please be patient as many details are not yet available for release. We hope the community will surround her family and friends, and support them in their time of grief.
A separate MCSO news update specified the location where Myers's remains were found as Cactus Park. The area is beloved by four-wheelers, as indicated by the following video:

After an autopsy was conducted by the Mesa County coroner's office, Myers's death was deemed suspicious — and new reporting from the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel and details from a search warrant affidavit obtained by Salt Lake City's Deseret News offer more reasons why.

The Sentinel has confirmed with investigators that Myers, De La Cruz, thirty, and Cordova, 47, were "known associates."

Police have not yet offered a further description of what precisely that means — but they apparently knew each other well enough that the trio apparently left Colorado together on December 18 with a stated destination of a birthday party in Salt Lake City. The aforementioned affidavit notes that Cordova picked Myers up at her father's house.

By the next day, the three are thought to have arrived at the County Inn and Suites in West Valley City, Utah. That's the location connected to the IP address from which Myers posted the Facebook pic — and it's also the reason the Mesa County Sheriff's Office has handed over the death investigation to local police in Utah.

According to the Deseret News, police believe Myers died that same day, December 19, after which De La Cruz and Cordova stuffed her remains into a hard-shell black suitcase and loaded it into a small car, which was located in February.

An informant cited in the affidavit told investigators that during the drive to Cactus Park, the vehicle was filled with a "foul odor." The head housekeeper at the Country Inn & Suites told a similar tale about the room after De La Cruz checked out on the 19th.

De La Cruz reportedly has a hefty criminal history in Utah, including a 2000 conviction for aggravated robbery, an attempted murder beef that was dropped, and a felony-drug conviction — and he's also being investigated in connection to a drive-by shooting on February 14. As for Cordova, the Daily Sentinel calls him a "seven-time convicted felon."

But neither he nor Cordova have been charged with killing Myers at this writing. Instead, they're being held in Mesa County due to their alleged participation in a drug ring. De La Cruz is thought to have led a drug-trafficking organization that supplied "large quantities of heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and prescription narcotics," the Sentinel reports.

These substances raise the possibility that Myers may have died from an accidental overdose. Under that scenario, De La Cruz and Cordova might only be culpable for the manner in which they disposed of her body and their failure to inform authorities as opposed to murder.

The investigation is continuing. Meanwhile, there's one more sad note: Myers would have celebrated her 19th birthday this past Monday.

Look below to see booking photos for Eduardo De La Cruz and Raymond Cordova.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.