Colo. Dragging Victim Identified

Sandi Berg places flowers around a memorial for the still unidentified dragging victim on Surrey Road in Douglas County, Colo., Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2006.
AP/Rocky Mountain News, D. Barreda
A woman dragged to her death behind a vehicle was identified Thursday as a mother of three from the Mexican state of Guerrero, the Mexican consul general said.

Luz Maria Franco-Fierros, 49, was identified through fingerprints, Consul General Juan Marcos Gutierrez Gonzalez said. Franco-Fierros was from the city of Chilpancingo, the capitol of Guerrero.

Her battered, disfigured body was discovered early Monday along a subdivision road north of Castle Rock, about 20 miles south of Denver. Investigators say Franco-Fierros had been dragged behind a vehicle for more than a mile, leaving a bloody trail. Preliminary autopsy results said she suffered fatal head injuries and strangled as she was dragged.

Jose Luis Rubi-Nava, 36, was being held without bail on a charge of first-degree murder. The Denver Post reports he was her boyfriend.

Friends told the Rocky Mountain News that the woman lived with Rubi-Nava, even though he had a wife and children in Mexico. Cesar Gustavo Garcia Flores, 20, a roommate, said the couple sometimes argued violently.

"She was petite and heavy-set, but she was very pretty," neighbor Zulma Pulgarin told The Rocky Mountain News. "She had pretty green eyes and light skin; she didn't look her age."

Pulgarin said Fierro had once shown her a black eye that she said Rubi-Nava had given her — after she kicked him in the groin.

"She was the one who'd always hit him," Pulgarin said.

A judge sealed court documents and said he would consider McGuire's request for a gag order.

In his only public statement since the arrest, Sheriff Dave Weaver did not say how the arrest was made or how the few known clues fit into the case.

Among those clues is a widely circulated photograph found somewhere near the crime scene showing Rubi-Nava standing beside an unidentified woman, his right arm resting on her shoulder. Weaver said Wednesday he did not know whether the woman in the photo is the victim. Flores told the Rocky Mountain News that the woman in the photograph was Rubi-Nava's wife in Mexico.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said they believe Rubi-Nava is an illegal immigrant from Mexico.

Denver police confirmed Thursday they arrested Rubi-Nava on a traffic charge in April but released him.

Police spokeswoman Virginia Quinones said the arresting officer suspected Rubi-Nava's identification may have been forged, but she said the department was not responsible for verifying a suspect's immigration status, and a new Colorado law directing police to cooperate with federal immigration officers was not yet in force.

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for