Desert body is that of mother
The Mesa County Coroner’s Office said a body found Thursday in the desert north of 25 Road was that of a woman reported missing from her nearby home, while authorities Saturday said her son with a lengthy criminal record is a “person of interest” in the investigation.
The coroner’s office refused to specify in a news release the cause or manner of death for 54-year-old Kathleen Lynn Stetzel.
“Since this is an ongoing investigation we will not be releasing any further information at this time,” the coroner’s release said.
The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office has called the death suspicious, but said little else. Stetzel was reported missing by family members in the predawn hours Tuesday, authorities said. Court records showed she lived at 773 25 Road.
The body was discovered by a passer-by around 3:30 p.m. Thursday on Bureau of Land Management land, approximately four miles past the entrance to the desert at 25 and J roads.
Authorities for the past week have been trying to speak with Kathleen Stetzel’s son, Daniel John Stetzel, 31, who has an active arrest warrant.
Stetzel is a five-time convicted felon with 14 arrests on his record since 2002, according to Colorado Bureau of Investigation records.
Stetzel was sentenced in 2006 following a Mesa County robbery conviction to serve three years in prison, before being paroled to Grand Junction after 17 months in February 2008. He returned to prison in January 2009 for absconding parole, before being paroled again back to Grand Junction in May 2011. He finished the sentence in December 2012.
Deputies were called May 6, 2013, to Kathleen Stetzel’s home at 773 25 Road on a report of Daniel Stetzel destroying property and “exhibiting bizarre behavior,” an arrest affidavit said. The deputy who wrote the affidavit noted “through previous experience” he was familiar with Daniel Stetzel, a user of methamphetamine who also suffers from mental health problems and who has “the potential to be very violent.”
Stetzel was arrested at gunpoint and had aluminum foil in his pocket with less than 2 grams of meth, the affidavit said.
Free on bond, Stetzel was arrested again Oct. 10, 2013, after Grand Junction police were called around 2 a.m. to Bradley Sinclair, 2498 Patterson Road, on a report of a man acting strangely in the parking lot. Stetzel, who appeared to officers under the influence of a narcotic, lied about his identity and tried to run from officers, then punched one of them in the face during a struggle, the affidavit said.
Stetzel’s mental health was the subject of a court-ordered competency evaluation in December 2013.
State doctors found he was competent to face trial.
Kathleen Stetzel was active in her son’s criminal cases, posting bonds following his most recent arrests. She also wrote a letter to a Mesa County judge just before his sentencing in February, advising her son had a diagnosis of schizophrenia.
Stetzel was sentenced Feb. 28 to serve six months in prison, while credited with 167 days time served, after pleading guilty to possession of methamphetamine and misdemeanor assault.
An arrest warrant was issued June 26 for escape after Stetzel walked away from a halfway house in Adams County, according to Adrienne Jacobson, spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Corrections.
He left the same day he was placed in the program, she said.
The Sheriff’s Office on Saturday asked anyone with information on Daniel Stetzel’s location to call 911, or a non-emergency number for Grand Junction dispatch, 242-6707.