Death along Cherry Creek Trail in normally 'safe' area has neighbors worried

Detectives don't have a suspect description
Posted at 10:01 PM, Oct 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-05 12:39:23-04

DENVER -- A mysterious death along Cherry Creek Trail has neighbors worried and a family in mourning. A man in his 40's was found bloody along the creek Sunday morning, not far from people running or biking along the trail.

Denver Police have confirmed it is now a homicide investigation.

Neighbors told Denver7 they saw the crime scene just beyond the bushes. They have a lot of questions for investigators Wednesday night, including who is responsible for Mendez’s death, and how can something so horrible happen in a normally safe part of town.

Denver7 spoke with several people out for a run or a bike ride Wednesday afternoon, including Alan Fine, who rides his bike on the trail often.

Hearing about something violent, a possible killing, is alarming to Fine.

"I have ridden or walked this stretch of the path thousands of times over the years and I've never experienced anything like it," said Fine.

Sunday morning, police got a call from a neighbor saying they could hear moaning coming from the creek. Detectives confirm to Denver7 they found Juan Mendez on a sandbar, bleeding.

He was taken to the hospital where he died. Just a few days later, Jordan Lloyd was pushing her son along in a stroller.

She had no idea what happened just a few feet away.

"So scary because I walk up and down Cherry Creek trail every day. Almost with him. That's how I get my exercise," said Lloyd.

Detectives have few leads and no description of the suspect, and until this crime is solved, people remain on high alert.

"Now you're constantly looking over your shoulder," said Lloyd. “I feel so sorry for his family. It's awful."

We know Mendez lived nearby and we've asked detectives if he was mugged or if there was evidence of a fight leading up to the crime. We are waiting for answers and will update this story as we get more information from detectives.

Investigators are asking for anyone that has info that could find Juan's killer to call Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP.