A decomposed body found in central New Mexico is that of missing Albuquerque elementary school therapist Carolyn Rustvold, police said this week.
Autopsy results Tuesday from the state Office of the Medical Investigator showed she had died of blunt force trauma to the head.
The body, found near the town of Belen about 30 miles south of Albuquerque, was identified by dental records authorities obtained after Rustvold, 28, disappeared Jan. 17. Witnesses said she misplaced her keys that day and asked school janitor Martin Saiz to help her get into her Montezuma Elementary School classroom.
Blood was found in the classroom, and Saiz was arrested the next day at his home in Los Lunas, south of Albuquerque.
A security guard for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad found Rustvold’s partly clothed body Sunday afternoon near a rail line northwest of Belen.
Saiz, 20, was charged Feb. 18 with murdering Rustvold even though her body had not been found. He pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, kidnapping and 17 counts of tampering with evidence. Authorities accused him of cleaning up blood and trying to hide or clean bloody clothes and other items.
Police Sgt. Carlos Argueta said the investigation has not turned up anything to explain why Rustvold was slain. “This case was disheartening, because it was really an innocent person who was brutally killed,” he said.