Court hearing preceded slaying of Paonia woman

A Paonia woman allegedly killed at the hand of her estranged husband had attended a court proceeding Friday in Paonia before she was found stabbed to death behind a home near her own, officials said Saturday.

Melinda Yager, 34, had been separated from her husband, 38-year-old Nathan Yager, and they were involved in an ongoing divorce case, police said.

“Either one or both of them were at this court hearing on the same day, and how it relates (to the killing), I don’t know,” said Dave Linnertz, director of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s Grand Junction office.

Deputy Delta County Coroner Kevin Lucy said Melinda Yager died as a result of multiple cut wounds to the neck.

An autopsy was performed Saturday, Lucy said.

Lucy said Melinda Yager’s body was found in the backyard of a home at 413 Delta Ave., not at 427 Delta Ave., Melinda Yager’s home, where a police spokesman Friday said the body was found.

Nathan Yager had been staying at another home in Paonia, police said.

Nathan Yager, who surrendered to police in Montrose around 3 p.m. Friday, was booked into Delta County Jail early Saturday on suspicion of first-degree murder and domestic violence.

Linnertz declined comment and said he couldn’t answer several questions about the case, citing the early stages of an investigation.

“To my knowledge, (Yager) has made no statements to us,” Linnertz said.


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