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Ignacio man accused of killing woman to face first-degree murder charge

Sister of victim Raeanna ‘Nikki’ Burch-Woodhull vows to see justice served
Raeanna “Nikki” Burch-Woodhull (Courtesy Colorado Bureau of Investigation)

Luis Raul Valenzuela of Ignacio appeared Monday via closed circuit television from La Plata County Jail for an advisement hearing and to determine whether any bail would be set for the charges of violation of a protection order and second-degree murder.

Valenzuela, 34, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of second-degree murder involving the death of 28-year-old Raeanna Burch-Woodhull, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Burch-Woodhull was pregnant and in her second trimester at the time of her death.

Luis Raul Valenzuela

A bail of $10,000 was set by visiting Judge Stephen Sletta for the violation of a protection order charge and bail was denied for the second-degree murder charge, which 6th Judicial District Attorney Christian Champagne said would be amended to first-degree murder.

The suspect was identified during the course of an investigation by the CBI. Investigators believe Burch-Woodhull knew Valenzuela but have not released more information about the investigation or a possible motive.

Burch-Woodhull had multiple tattoos with the name “Luis” on her face.

Burch-Woodhull’s sister Felicia Mungia attended Monday’s hearing with family and friends. She cried as she stood and walked to the courtroom microphone to address Valenzuela.

“First, I would like to state that I will be here,” Mungia said. “My sister and family deserve justice. I’m not going anywhere and this is going to end the way it needs to end.”

Mungia paused as emotion choked her and she cried before being able to continue.

“Things you did to my sister will not (go unpunished),” she continued. “Her babies and her unborn child did not deserve this kind of ending.”

Raeanna “Nikki” Burch-Woodhull, 28, was found dead on Saturday near County Road 310 and U.S. Highway 550 south of Durango. Luis Raul Valenzuela has been arrested in connection with her death.

Law enforcement located Burch-Woodhull’s body on Saturday near U.S. Highway 550 and County Road 310 south of Durango. A preliminary identification of the remains was made by La Plata County Coroner Jann Smith.

The CBI is working with the Ignacio Police Department, the 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives Office of the Department of Public Safety.

Burch-Woodhull was last seen around 2 a.m. Nov. 27 in the 600 block of Goddard Avenue in Ignacio, according to a CBI Missing Endangered Alert issued Saturday on behalf of the Ignacio Police Department.

Valenzuela is next scheduled to appear in court Dec. 12.


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