Remains of missing Colorado mom found

Rita Gutierrez-Garcia
Rita Gutierrez-Garcia(Longmont Police)
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 12:56 PM MDT
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LONGMONT, Colo. (KKTV) - Years after a Colorado woman went missing, her remains were recovered.

On Thursday, officials with the City of Longmont and the 20th Judicial District Attorney’s Office provided an update on the tragic case. Rita Gutierrez-Garcia was last seen alive by friends in Longmont on March 18, 2018. Juan Figueroa Jr. was identified as a suspect early into the investigation.

“Figueroa was, also, investigated for the Attempted Murder and Sexual Assault of another woman,” authorities wrote in a news release. “Figueroa was arrested for that horrific attack and prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office. The case went to trial and the jury returned guilty verdicts. Figueroa received a sentence of 93-yearsto-life in the Department of Corrections. He is currently serving that 93-years-to-life sentence. The investigation into Rita’s disappearance and cold case homicide involved a multi-state investigation, dozens of interviews and search warrants, follow-up on hundreds of tips and leads, wide-ranging search efforts for her remains, and the use of forensic testing to identify essential DNA evidence.”

In June of 2021, Figueroa Jr. was charged for the murder and kidnapping of Rita, despite the body had not been recovered at the time.

Following new information that was presented to investigators, authorities searched an area in Weld County east of Longmont on April 28. Human remains were recovered and ID’d as belonging to Rita through DNA analysis on May 19.

“This is no longer a missing person investigation.” The District Attorney’s Office and Longmont Police Services are grateful to bring Rita home to her family.

Figueroa’s next court date is scheduled for June 3 for both a dispositional hearing and sentencing.

Rita was a mom of three.

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