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Search for missing man leads to grisly discovery, murder arrest

By: LANCE BENZEL
February 12, 2010
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A three-week-long search for a missing Colorado Springs man ended with a grisly discovery Thursday afternoon: his naked, frozen body lying in the woods off Gold Camp Road in Teller County.

The victim was identified as 42-year-old Levi Ortivez.

Although a cause of death hasn’t been determined, police said that 34-year-old Steven Henson, of Colorado Springs, had been arrested a day before the body was found, on suspicion of second-degree murder.

He was booked into the El Paso County jail on a $200,000 bond and is due to appear in court Feb. 19.

A statement from police spokesman Lt. David Whitlock did not specify how Henson was tied to the death, and an arrest affadavit has been sealed.

Family members reported Ortivez missing Jan. 22, Whitlock said. Because of the circumstances, a police homicide detective was assigned to the case.

A joint investigation with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office led to a break Wednesday, when authorities searched a home in central Colorado Springs and found evidence of a violent crime, triggering Henson's arrest.

The probe led authorities to begin searching the woods off Gold Camp Road in Teller County, and Ortivez's body was found the next day about 15 miles east of Victor, police said.

Ortivez was nude and partially covered by snow, about 200 yards from the road, said Teller County Coroner Earl Byrne.

The condition of the body made it difficult to determine how Ortivez died, and an autopsy will not be possible until the body has thawed, which could take two or three days, Byrne said.

The autopsy will be performed at the El Paso County Coroner’s Office, Whitlock said.

This is the second suspicious death in Colorado Springs this year.

Autopsy results haven't been released in the Feb. 1 death of Marie “Angie” Sandoval, 48, who was found lying in a pool of blood in her kitchen in the 1000 block of Querida Drive, a family member said. Two of her children were home at the time.

Henson has a history of arrests dating back to 1993, on suspicion of assault, drug possession, trespassing, driving under the influence and traffic offenses, court records show. The dispositions of those cases were unknown.

Whitlock said police did not make Henson's arrest public Wednesday because the investigation is not considered complete.

"There are additional people of interest that we want to talk to,” he said.

 

Call the writer at 636-0366.

Reporter John Ensslin contributed to this story.

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