Jose Luis Rubi-Nava, 36, was arrested Tuesday night on a charge of first-degree murder and is being held without bail in the Douglas County jail, Sheriff Dave Weaver said.
He said the woman had not yet been identified.
Weaver said Rubi-Nava was the man pictured in a photograph found near the woman's body when it was discovered Monday in a subdivision about 20 miles south of Denver.
The, and Weaver said without elaborating that tips from citizens had helped lead to the arrest. The picture shows a couple who appear to be in their 30s; he is leaning with his arm on the woman's shoulder; she is looking away from the camera.
Weaver did not say whether a woman who also appeared in the photo had been identified.
Weaver said federal officials had placed an immigration hold on Rubi-Nava but did not say whether he was an illegal immigrant. Weaver refused to take questions after reading a brief statement at a news conference.
Neighbors discovered the woman's body before dawn. Her face was unrecognizable and an orange tow rope was found around her neck, said Nancy Foley, who lives nearby.
Preliminary results of an autopsy indicated the woman died of asphyxiation and head injuries from being strangled by being dragged by a vehicle.
Foley said the incident has shaken the normally quiet Surrey Ridge neighborhood.
"I was trying to sleep last night thinking about how this poor lady was dragged, treated worse than an animal," Foley said Tuesday. "She was really mangled."
She said sheriff's patrols have increased and residents are more vigilant.
"We don't want to attract any more attention that what we're already getting. This is our little piece of heaven," she said.