DENVER – Police are investigating after the remains of a man were discovered inside two suitcases near the Sanderson Gulch Trail in the Mar Lee neighborhood of Denver.
Denver7 received messages from people who live nearby about the discovery of the suitcases and had been asking police for more information. The Denver Police Department’s Major Crimes Division Lt. Matt Clark further discussed the case at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
The department confirmed that officers were called to the 1700 block of S. Java Way Tuesday morning on reports of suspicious bags beside the road and found the human remains inside.
The Office of the Medical Examiner (OME) confirmed the remains belonged to an adult white male on Wednesday, Clark said. He said that it appeared the man was “recently deceased,” though exactly when he died will be determined by the OME.
A Denver Parks and Recreation employee Denver7 spoke with earlier Wednesday said one of the department’s employees found the suitcases around 7:15 a.m. Tuesday while clearing snow from the Sanderson Gulch Trail.
Neighbors also said that the detectives they spoke with had told them there were human remains inside the suitcases. Candy Romero, one of the neighbors, said police went door-to-door in the area asking if neighbors saw anything or had any surveillance video.
Clark confirmed Wednesday afternoon that police were working to obtain private surveillance video from nearby homes.
One neighbor, who spoke with Denver7 on the condition they remain anonymous, said she had asked an officer who came to her door whether the victim was male or female.
“He mentioned it’s pretty hard to tell when the body parts are wrapped, but the foot looks the same whether it is a male or female, so basically he couldn’t tell me,” the woman said.
Lt. Clark said police are investigating the case as a homicide but added that the OME would make the determination of whether the man’s death was a homicide and what his cause of death was.
Police have so far not identified any missing persons cases in Denver that could be linked to the man’s remains, but Clark said the investigation was still in its early phase and would be expanding in coming days. He said the afternoon news conference would hopefully bring more leads in the case.
Investigators with the DPD crime lab are also working to obtain any physical evidence from the scene, suitcases or remains, Clark said.