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Sheriff, coroner investigate two deaths Saturday in Montezuma County

Woman found dead off Road 29; man found off Road L

Two unrelated deaths reported on Saturday are being investigated by the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office and county coroner.

There is no evidence of foul play, but the investigations remain open and final autopsy reports are pending, said Sheriff Steve Nowlin.

On Saturday a little after 10 a.m., a woman was found deceased in the 13000 block of Road 29. She was found lying on the east side of the road north of Road N, northeast of Cortez.

An autopsy Monday did not show evidence of major injury or trauma, said Montezuma County Coroner George Deavers. The time of death was that morning, he said, and the cause of death is pending a toxicology and final autopsy report.

Nowlin said that based on the investigation, the woman suffered from dementia, which might have contributed to her death. She was identified as Linda Littell, 72, Nowlin said, and lived nearby.

Nowlin said foul play is not suspected at this time, and there is no evidence that she was struck by a vehicle. A person driving by reported seeing her body, and stayed at the scene. When found she was wearing a thick shirt, pants, shoes and had a light jacket.

Deputies canvassed the neighborhood, and learned Littell had been seen walking the road in the past. Anyone with information regarding the case or who saw her that morning was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office.

Road 29 was closed between County Roads N and P for a few hours because of the investigation, and was reopened at 2:19 p.m.

A little after 2 p.m. Saturday, a Native American man was found dead in a field north of Road L and east of Road 26, Nowlin said.

There has been no evidence of foul play, but the investigation is ongoing, he said.

Deavers said an autopsy Monday did not show evidence of injury or trauma. The cause of death is pending the toxicology report and final autopsy report.

Deavers said hypothermia and alcohol related illness may have contributed to the man’s death. A bottle of alcohol was found under the body, Nowlin said.

Deavers said the date of death likely was March 14 or March 15. Police identified the man based on his tattoos. His name was not released pending notification of next of kin.

Nowlin said it was not clear how the man ended up where he did. His last known address was a trailer park on West Seventh Street in Cortez. A passerby walking a dog noticed the body in the field, a short distance from the road.

Nowlin said investigators are seeking witnesses that might have seen the man in the area or have any information about what happened.

He was wearing a blue and white jacket, Levi pants and black shoes.

“Both death investigations will remain open pending the final autopsy and toxicology reports,” Nowlin said.

Anyone with information regarding these cases should call the Sheriff’s Office at 970-565-8452.