Deputies arrested a man they said killed a 22-year-old woman whose body was found along U.S. 24 in Cascade earlier this summer, authorities announced Friday.

James Maurice Walker, 47, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of first-degree murder in the killing of Dedrea L. Duncan, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement issued Friday.

Duncan’s body was found early July 31 after a caller reported seeing her body along the roadway, according to the release.

A California native, Duncan was a former student at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, a spokesman for the school confirmed. She enrolled in classes during the fall semesters of 2017 and 2018, but had not graduated.

“She was the light of my heart,” Judy Bartlett, Duncan’s mother, told Gazette news partner KKTV during an interview after her daughter’s body was found. “Whenever I was down, I was calling her for her to pick me up. And she would do the same thing with me.”

The Sheriff’s Office did not release additional information about Duncan’s death, but encouraged anyone with information regarding the case to call the agency’s tip line at 719-520-6666.

Duncan’s mother also urges anyone with information to come forward.

“Somebody knows something out there,” Bartlett told KKTV. “She didn’t have a car, so how did she get where she was? Somebody drove her out there and whoever’s car she was in knows something. Whoever picked her up from wherever her last conversation was, they have to know something.”

Contact the writer: Olivia.Prentzel@gazette.com

Reach Olivia at olivia.prentzel@gazette.com.

Twitter: @oliviaprentzel

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