Police are looking to identify the person responsible for the “kidnap and murder” of a New Mexico woman Sasha Krause after her body was found hundreds of miles away from her secluded Mennonite community.
On Feb. 22, police discovered Krause’s lifeless body by a camper near Sunset Crater National Monument Flagstaff in Arizona, San Juan County Sheriff’s Office revealed in a statement on Facebook.
The 27-year-old had been missing since Jan. 18, according to police.
She mysteriously vanished after running an errand at the Farmington Mennonite Church in northwestern New Mexico, Fox 10 Phoenix reported. According to local outlet AZFamily, Krause disappeared after eating dinner with her roommates and was without her wallet.
On Tuesday, San Juan County Sheriff Shane Ferrari gave an update on the investigation via a video on Facebook, revealing it was initially difficult to determine whether Krause “was voluntarily missing or we were working a kidnapping.”
Ferrari admitted that authorities immediately thought her disappearance was “suspicious.”
Ferrari explained that after discovering a body “that was similar to that of Sasha” was found on Feb. 22 an autopsy was conducted, confirming it was in fact Krause.
“It is with a heavy heart that I now report that the body of Sasha Krause has been identified and located,” Ferrari said.
“To Sasha’s family, I give my heartfelt condolences on behalf of not only myself, but the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office.”
Ferrari went on to share that the current investigation has since transitioned to a criminal investigation.
“We have partnered with the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office and federal authorities to try and identify and apprehend the person responsible for Sasha’s kidnap and murder,” Ferrari said.
As this investigation remains ongoing, Krause’s cause of death has not been revealed.
The case is particular puzzling to detectives as Krause lived in a very “secluded community,” Ferrari told Fox 10 Phoenix.
“They have a business, they live onsite, and we never respond there very often for anything, so it struck us as very odd that we had someone missing, especially because you see them out in a group and having someone gone was very strange to us,” Ferrari told the news outlet.
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Krause’s co-worker Paul Kaufman has since spoken out to Fox 10 Phoenix, saying Krause was intelligent, a hard worker and pleasant.
“It is a very difficult experience for us. It shouldn’t have happened. IT shouldn’t happen to anyone,” Kaufman told Fox 10 Phoenix. “[She is] a dedicated Christian, so yeah, she leaves a big hole with us.”
The Mennonite faith is one based in Christianity and while its followers share some similarities with the Amish they do not follow all the same observances. Mennonites do dress traditionally but tend to be more open about the use of machinary and electronics.
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