Body found in trunk: Suspect has violent history

Posted at 12:43 PM, Mar 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-21 00:11:33-04

A woman's body was found inside a trunk in a Greeley apartment Wednesday and a man living there was arrested for a parole violation.

Now a former girlfriend who was badly beaten five years ago by the man, David Wayne Batty, tells Denver7 she begged the parole board not to let him out of prison, but he was released after serving half of an eight-year sentence.

Two parole officers found the body in the trunk when they contacted Batty at an apartment in the 1400 block of 9th Avenue. The officers were doing a routine, unannounced home visit on the parolee, investigators said.

The body of Tonya Lei Webster, 47, was found inside a chest-type trunk in a closet in the apartment. An autopsy will be completed to determine the cause and manner of death.

The 53-year-old Batty, who has a history of domestic violence, is being held at Weld County Jail on the parole violation, police said. 

Court documents show he was on parole for assaulting a Cheriee Schlotthauer back in 2010 in Weld County.

"It's heartbreaking -- I mean because it could have been avoided," she told Denver7 Reporter Jennifer Kovaleski over the phone. 

Schlotthauer lives in Oklahoma now, but wanted to share her story.

"It still brings tears to my eyes to think about it and talk about it," she said.

Schlotthauer said she dated Batty for six months before he turned violent.

"Next thing I know I got punched in the face and blood going all over and my daughter's crying," said Schlotthauer.

She had the courage to face her attacker in court and Batty was sentenced to eight years in prison, but after four years he was up for parole.

"Begged them not to let him out," said Schlotthauer.

Schlotthauer showed Denver7 the letter she sent to the parole board telling them, "he will drink and do drugs again and then he will hurt someone else."

However, despite her pleas, Batty was allowed out on parole.

And while there's still questions about what happened in Greeley, Schlotthauer said there's no doubt in her mind.

"That woman's death is their fault because they let him out of prison," she said.

Batty has not been charged in the woman's death, he is being held on a parole violation.

Anyone with possible information regarding this incident or the identity of the victim are being asked to contact Det. Robert Cash at (970) 350-9601.       


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