Victim had been reported missing

Death of woman now being treated as a homicide

Mesa County sheriff’s deputies and Park Service rangers collected evidence at the scene where the body of Kathy Fortner, 49, was discovered near the entrance to Colorado National Monument on Tuesday.

A 49-year-old woman who was killed before her body was stumbled upon by tourists at Colorado National Monument had been reported as a missing person to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department, an agency representative said Wednesday.

The Sheriff’s Department did not confirm who reported her missing or when that report was made.

“The detail of that (missing person) call is part of this active investigation,” agency spokeswoman Heather Benjamin said.

Kathy Fortner, of Grand Junction, died as a result of blunt-force trauma in what was ruled a homicide, the Mesa County Coroner’s Office said.

Fortner had been living in Grand Junction less than a year, Benjamin said.

The agency declined comment on a host of questions, citing the active investigation.

Tourists at Colorado National Monument reported finding a body Tuesday near the west entrance while they were attempting to take a picture near a park sign around 12:30 p.m.

The body was discovered 300 feet north of the western entrance to the monument, roughly 10 feet off the east side of the road in sagebrush.

Benjamin said there were no suspects as of Wednesday afternoon while investigators were still trying to piece together Fortner’s last hours, hopeful video surveillance footage from the monument held answers.

Anyone who saw anything suspicious around the west entrance of the monument on the night of July 1, through the early-morning hours of July 2, is asked to call the agency’s complex crimes unit, 244-3267.


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