Mennonite murder mystery: Woman found dead in Arizona was killed, sheriff says

A body found in rural Arizona was identified this week as a missing New Mexico woman who disappeared from her Mennonite community over a month ago — and authorities said she was murdered.

An autopsy conducted on the body found Friday north of Flagstaff in Coconino County confirmed it was Sasha Marie Krause, a 27-year-old woman last seen outside the Farmington Mennonite Church in northwestern New Mexico on Jan. 18, authorities said.

“To Sasha’s family, I give my heartfelt condolences, on behalf of not only myself, but the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office,” San Juan County Sheriff Shane Ferrari said Tuesday. “Our investigation now transitions to a criminal investigation.”

Investigators are working to identify and apprehend the person responsible for Sasha’s “kidnap and murder,” Ferrari added.

A medical examiner is still working to determine Krause’s cause of death. Fingerprints collected from the scene were matched with Texas Motor Vehicle Department records to confirm her identity, authorities in Arizona said Tuesday.

“Due to the ongoing investigation, no further details are available currently,” the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office announced.

A $50,000 reward had been offered for information leading to Krause’s recovery. Deputies had thoroughly searched the area where she was last seen using helicopters, K-9 teams and volunteers from her tight church community.

Deputies responded to a report of a missing woman at Lamp & Light Publishers, a bookstore where Krause worked, on Jan. 19. At the time, Ferrari said it was initially unclear whether Krause left the area of her own accord or if foul play was involved, according to the Farmington Daily Times.

Fellow members of her church, meanwhile, were sure that something was terribly wrong, they told The Daily Beast.

“We were convinced from the start that it was an abduction because we are a close-knit community,” Samuel Coon, an editor at Lamp & Light Publishers, told the website. “We know our people. We knew her integrity … Sasha was a person of deep integrity, very level-headed. There is no one I would have less expected this to happen to.”

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