Three people are behind bars tonight in connection with the murder of Brian Swartz. Pueblo Police say Swartz's common-law wife Sonia Mitchell, 24, her sister Priscilla Mitchell, 22, and Sonia's boyfriend Eloy Varos, 29, are responsible.
Swartz's body was found in a shallow grave near Wetmore. He had been missing for six weeks.
Late July, 2009
- Brian Swartz and his father get into an argument over a vehicle they own jointly. It's the last time his father speaks to him.
- New Mexico Police check the Colorado license plate of a van belonging to Brian Swartz. The van is tagged as abandoned on the south bound I-25.
- New Mexico Police check the license plate again, this time the van was towed away. The keys were in the ignition, but the fan belt was broke. It appears the van overheated.
- Police started receiving tips that something had happened to Brian Swartz on August 11. The last time he was seen by family member was near the end of July.
- A detective with the Pueblo Police Department is assigned to the case based on the Crime Stoppers tip. He speaks to Brian's father and common-law wife, Sonia Mitchell. Mitchell tells police, she and Brian got into a fight about two and a half weeks prior and Brian moved out. She also told police, Brian showed up four days prior to see the kids and pick up some of his belongings.
- Brian's sister-in-law files a missing person report.
- Detectives speak with Brian's immediate family. The last time Brian's cell phone was used was July 27. Reports that Sonia and other people were seen loading some of Brian's things (a gun safe, big screen television, and various other things) into the back of a Black Ford Explorer were logged.
- Sonia seeks out the detective in charge of the case. She tells him her first story was not completely true. Sonia spins a tale of a trip Brian took to Texas to buy drugs, that it had gone bad, and that he needed some money. She goes on to tell the detectives, Brian returned to Pueblo with four Mexican Nationals to pick up some of his things, his gun safe, a big screen television, and other items.
- Detectives speak with Brian's neighbors. They claim, several weeks prior, to have seen Brian drag Sonia down the street by her hair. They also say they saw Sonia and others loading Brian's things into a Black Ford Explorer.
- Detectives find Sonia has moved out of the home she shared with Brian. Neighbor tells detectives Sonia told her, "Brian will never beat me again, where he is now."
- A search warrant is used on the home, some possible blood evidence is found on a stairway.
- Skeletal remains are found in west Pueblo County, in a shallow grave. Massive trauma to the face was recorded, it's possible to get fingerprints off of one of the hands.
- The remains are identified as those belonging to Brian Swartz.
- Detectives retrieve Swartz van from New Mexico.
- Sonia Mitchell's boyfriend Eloy Varos speaks to detectives. Varos tells them he owns a Black Ford Explorer. When asked if he was nervous about being with someone like Brian Swartz's girlfriend he tells them he probably would not be with her unless he knew Brian was completely out of the picture. He also tells them he rents a storage unit, and that Sonia might have hid evidence inside it.
- Detectives obtain a search warrant for the storage unit and check it out. Inside they find a bloodstained mattress, and items Sonia told them were taken by the Mexican Nationals.
- Detectives speak to Varos's ex-girlfriend who tells them she overheard Sonia, Priscilla, and two other men planning how the were going to get rid of Brian.
- Detectives talk to a forensic anthropologist. She tells them the wounds to Brian's face were caused by severe bludgeoning.
- Detectives talk to Brian's relatives. They say, Sonia told them Brian cut up the mattress with a knife so they got rid of it.
- Another search warrant is used on Brian's home. Using a chemical luminal to test for bloodstains that are not visible to the naked eye, including those that have attempted to be cleaned or painted over, CSI investigators find blood evidence in Brian and Sonia's bedroom. A cast off pattern of blood is located on the ceiling in an area where the bed would have been.
- A Crime Stoppers tipster tells detectives Sonia Mitchell told them Brian was dead several days prior to the discovery and identification of his body. He also tells them Sonia, Priscilla, and another man are responsible for Brian's murder.
- Detectives speak with Alexander Crespo who tells them he helped move Brian's gun safe at Sonia's residence. He also tells them he went to Varos' storage unit to pick up weights. When he asked Varos if he could have the mattress, Varos told him he could not have it because he was going to burn it.
- Detectives are told by CSI investigators a blood trail has been found from the bedroom through the hallway, to the back door.
- Detectives arrest Sonia Mitchell, Priscilla Mitchell, and Eloy Varos. All are charged with First Degree Murder, Conspiracy to Commit Murder, and bail is set at $1 million.
Sonya, Priscilla, and Eloy could be in front of a judge as early as next Monday.
Brian Swartz's mother released this statement Thursday, "This is just a horrible event. My son is dead. My family is mourning the loss of a son, a brother, and a father. The young people responsible for this terrible deed have ruined their lives. My grandchildren are without parents. What else can one say." A memorial service for Brian Swartz is tentatively scheduled for Friday September 25.