DENVER — Police in Greeley arrested a 24-year-old man Friday after a missing store employee, a 22-year-old woman, was found dead in the back of a vehicle.
Marcos Vallejos was taken into custody on charges of first-degree murder and sexual assault, according to the Greeley Police Department.
Responding to a report of suspicious activity, police arrived at NOCO Nutrition, 1990 59th Avenue #A, around 8 p.m. to find the 22-year-old closing store employee missing.
Arriving officers also discovered the fitness and juice store had been broken into and found a large amount of blood. The employee's car was also missing, according to police.
About two hours later, Greeley officers found the victim’s vehicle parked at or near a Kum & Go convenience store at 71st Avenue and 20th Street, about one mile west of NOCO Nutrition.
Police discovered the woman’s body in the back of her parked vehicle. The victim's family identified her as 22-year-old Angie Vega.
“She loved bringing people together. She was always smiling. She loved dancing, music. Anywhere she went, she loved food," Vega's mother, Virginia Barragan, told Denver7 Monday. “She always wanted to try something new or do something new, cook up recipes. Just look up a recipe and she would go for it, and it was yummy.”
On Saturday, a memorial formed outside of NoCo Nutrition, as investigators continued cleaning the inside of the store.
“I wish we could go back and change it, but we can’t. I know, I didn't know her, but I just wanted to come and leave some flowers and maybe a little poem," said Leandra Walker, who came to the memorial. "Even if I didn't know her, we care. We're not going to forget her. And she's going to be remembered and hopefully, maybe it'll help her family a little."
At NoCo Nutrition in #Greeley, Leandra is helping craft a memorial for the 22-year-old woman who worked here yesterday.— Colette Bordelon (@ColetteBordelon) August 27, 2022
She didn’t know her. But the details police have released about what happened here made Leandra come. Press release attached. Story on @DenverChannel at 5. pic.twitter.com/O5lOGkqb5Y
Next door to NoCo Nutrition is Beso Hair, Skin, and Laser Spa, which is owned by Tawnya Bowie. Bowie said NoCo Nutrition has been there for around a year, and she is devastated to hear what happened.
“I have so much anger because I am a female. I am a mother and a daughter and a niece just like, you know, she's a niece, she's a daughter. She's never going to have kids. She's never going to get married. And that's not fair. He took that from her. And that's not right," Bowie said through tears.
Bowie said her salon is looking to help the family through a fundraiser. Once the details are finalized, Denver7 will share them.
The 24-year-old suspect was booked into the Weld County Jail. A booking photo was not made available.
Police declined to release additional information as the investigation is ongoing. They are asking anyone with information on this case, to contact Detective Onderlinde at 970-350-9676.