A 34-year-old Ignacio man is being held on suspicion of second degree murder involving the death of Raeanna "Nikki" Burch-Woodhull (age 28), an Indigenous female from Ignacio.
A suspect was identified during the course of the investigation, and Luis Raul Valenzuela (DOB: 02/15/1988) was taken into custody on Saturday, December 3, 2022. Valenzuela was taken to the La Plata County Jail. His first appearance is set for Monday, December 5, 2022. Investigators believe the suspect is known to Burch-Woodhull.
Law enforcement located the body of Burch-Woodhull in the area of Colorado State Highway 550 and County Road 310, south of Durango, on Saturday. Preliminary identification of the remains was made by the La Plata County Coroner, and notification of the family has taken place. The autopsy, where formal identification will be made, will be conducted by the La Plata County Coroner.
Because this is early in the investigation, details are not available. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been requested to conduct the investigation and the processing of the crime scene, working closely with the Ignacio Police Department, the 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, La Plata County Coroner's Office, and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives (MMIR) Office of the Department of Public Safety.
A CBI Missing Endangered Alert was issued at the request of the Ignacio Police Department in this case. It should be noted that the new Missing Indigenous Person Alert takes effect at the end of the month following completion of the rulemaking process.