The 39-year-old woman found dead in southwest Colorado Springs on Friday was a mother of four and a 2nd lieutenant in the Colorado Army National Guard.
Cristina Cornejo, a 13-year Colorado Springs resident, enlisted in the National Guard in June 2006 and juggled her pursuit of a full-time career as an officer while raising three sons and a daughter.
Cornejo served as a career counselor with the Guard's Recruiting and Retention Battalion before attending the Officer Candidate School on Fort Carson, where she graduated in August 2010. She was commissioned as 2nd lieutenant in 2011 and served with the 100th Missile Defense Brigade, receiving several honors.
"Cristina was not only a stellar soldier, but a fantastic young leader who set high standards," Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards, commander of the Colorado National Guard, said in a statement on Tuesday. "Her contribution to the Colorado National Guard will be truly missed. We will do everything we can to support her family during this most difficult time."
In the statement, the Colorado National Guard said it would "provide any assistance needed" in the ongoing investigation into Cornejo's death.
Cornejo's body was found in the 1000 block of Cheyenne Villas Point near Fort Carson on Friday morning.
Police and Fort Carson officers spent about four hours Friday searching for Brian Joseph Hedglin, 40, who Colorado Springs police spokeswoman Barbara Miller called the primary suspect in the death. Cornejo's death was ruled the 13th homicide in the city in 2012. Hedglin committed suicide Tuesday after attempting to steal a SkyWest plane from a St. George, Utah airport.
Miller said Tuesday that detectives would continue to investigate Cornejo’s death “to tie up all the loose ends and make sure that (Hedglin) was indeed the person responsible.”
Memorial services will be Friday for Cornejo. There will be a visitation beginning at noon at the Cappadona Funeral Home, 1020 E. Fillmore St. The funeral will be at Cappadona at 1 p.m. with burial at 2 p.m. at Memorial Gardens, 3825 Airport Road.