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Police launch investigation after dead body found west of downtown

Remains found Wednesday night near Ella Vita Court

Authorities are investigating a dead body that was found Wednesday night in west Durango.

Durango Police Chief Kamran Afzal said a resident on Ella Vita Court had noticed a foul smell for at least the past 30 days. On Wednesday night, the homeowner went to see what his dog was getting into, and he found the human remains.

Police found the body about 300 to 400 yards from the nearest home. Afzal said the body was “extremely decomposed” and could have been there for several months.

He said some personal belongings were found around the body, and it appears the person could be male, but because the body had been in the forest for so long, authorities don’t want to make any immediate assumptions.

The body was also found near a former makeshift homeless camp that was recently closed because of fire danger. Afzal said it is too early to say whether the person found was part of the homeless community.

“It’s probably going to take some time before we can release anything concrete,” he said.

It is also unclear whether the death was accidental or a result of foul play.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation has been called to help with the investigation, Afzal said.

Durango Police Cmdr. Ray Shupe said Thursday afternoon that not all human remains were recovered from the area. If someone comes across human remains, they are asked to call authorities.

Police will conduct a pathology test as well as autopsy. Anyone with information about the death or identity of the person is asked to call Detective Josh Newman at 375-4733.


Aug 13, 2022
Dead body found in west Durango ruled a homicide
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