Last week, an Aurora Police officer on a routine call happened to glance into the back of an SUV on South Elkhart Street and spot what turned out to be the body of a dead woman. The victim has now been positively identified as Cristy Erickson, 36 -- the mother of five, including twins born just months ago. But while the APD continues to describe the incident as "suspicious," it has yet to be dubbed a homicide.
Judging by the comments on this post, a number of folks have known for a while that Erickson's body had been found in the vehicle, including her sister, Charlene Pallares-Erickson, who posted a heartfelt RIP note four days ago at this writing. In a conversation with CBS4, Pallares said Erickson had been missing for four days prior to the gruesome discovery. She'd been at a relative's house and had likely been headed to a party.
No doubt police are looking into that possibility even though no final determination of foul play has been made. In the meantime, Pallares writes the following on her Facebook page: "$10,000 leading to the arrest of the scum monster idiot pig that killed my sister..."
Look below to see our earlier coverage.
Original item, 10:08 a.m. August 11: A woman's body found in the back of a sport-utility vehicle in Aurora is not officially being investigated as a homicide -- at least not as of this writing.
But the death has been deemed suspicious -- and the Aurora Police Department believes it knows the identity of the victim.
"The SUV was parked on the 4900 block of South Elkhart Street," says Sergeant Cassidee Carlson, an APD spokeswoman. At about 4 a.m. yesterday morning, "a patrol officer was called out to the neighborhood on a completely unrelated call. As part of his investigation, he saw the vehicle, and he wanted to see if it was associated with his call. But as he got closer and looked inside, he thought he saw somebody in the back cargo area."
After taking a closer look through the SUV's tinted windows, the officer confirmed that someone was inside -- but he didn't know anything about the condition. "At that point, it became a welfare check," Carlson says. "The person wasn't responding, so he didn't know if she was drunk or passed out or something else. They tried to pick the lock, but they couldn't get in, so they ended up breaking the window. And once they got inside, they realized it was a deceased woman."
Shortly thereafter, they determined that the SUV didn't belong to anyone who lived in the neighborhood, and it may have been sitting in place for days -- perhaps as far back as early Saturday.
Carlson says the major crime unit was called to the scene, with the SUV later being towed to the lab, seeing as how it was "virtually a mobile crime scene."
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Because the APD believes it knows who the woman was, officers have already begun interviewing people associated with her. However, the coroner's office has not formally confirmed her identity.
Look below to see an interactive graphic of the area near the crime scene. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."
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More from our Mile High Murder archive: "David Heydenburg took dog to animal shelter before killing 3-year-old daughter Allyson (16)."