Man’s body found under Broadway bridge

David Lavender


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In late summer 1987, the Grand Junction Police Department investigated its fifth transient murder in a three-year period.

All remained unsolved at the time.

Several were later cleared with arrests, but that wasn’t the case in the murder of Robert David Lavender, 45, formerly of Amarillo, Texas.

Lavender was beaten to death, and his body was found Aug. 26, 1987, near the Colorado River, under the Broadway bridge, crossing railroad tracks.

Lavender’s body had “been there a while” prior to its discovery, and he was last seen walking in the general area of the bridge, Police Cmdr. Mike Nordine said.

Police said they had little to go on in the case, but they acknowledge they have the names of several of Lavender’s known friends or associates.

Lavender was a welder and mechanic with a history of numerous arrests for minor offenses in Texas and Colorado, according to Nordine.

In a Daily Sentinel story published in the days after Lavender’s body was found, authorities said they were looking into possible links in Lavender’s case and the murder of transient Gerald Burns, who was beaten and strangled 10 months earlier near a known transient camp close to the Interstate 70 Business Loop, behind a building in the 1800 block of East Main Street.


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