Body of missing 27-year-old New Mexico woman found in Arizona identified

Authorities have positively identified a woman whose body was found off a forest road in northern Arizona as a New Mexico resident reported missing over a month ago.

Sasha Krause, 27, was last seen Jan. 18 picking up items from the Farmington Mennonite Church in northwestern New Mexico. Her car was parked outside.

A body that matched her description was discovered Friday near Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki national monuments, more than 270 miles (434 kilometers) away from where Krause last was seen. Fingerprints taken at the scene matched Krause’s driver’s license record with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, authorities said Tuesday.

Sasha Krause (Courtesy San Juan County Sheriff's Office, NM)

The investigation into how she died is ongoing, said Coconino County sheriff’s spokesman Jon Paxton. The Coconino County medical examiner’s office said the results of an autopsy will take a few weeks.

“I think it’s all just kind of a mystery right now,” Paxton said. “Once we get a cause from the [Medical Examiner], that’s really going to lead us forward.”

Paxton said it’s unclear how long Krause’s body had been off the forest road before it was found.

The Sheriff for New Mexico's San Juan County, Shane Ferarri, said the case is peculiar from the start, because Krause disappeared from a Mennonite Church community.

"Very secluded," said Sheriff Ferarri. "They have a business, they live onsite, and we never respond there very often for anything, so it struck us as very odd that we had someone missing, especially because you see them out in a group and having someone gone was very strange to us."

Krause's co-worker, Paul Kaufman, talked about her death Tuesday.

"It is a very difficult experience for us. It shouldn't have happened. It shouldn't happen to anyone," said Kaufman, who worked with Krause at Lamp and Light Publishers. "[She is] a dedicated Christian, so yeah, she leaves a big hole with us."

Kaufman describes Krause as intelligent, pleasant, and a hardworker.