DENVER — Denver police have identified a suspect in the murder case of James “Jay” Montoya, a man who disappeared from a Lakewood bar in April and whose remains were found nearly four hours away in July.
The Denver Police Department said Tuesday that they are searching for Jesus Angel Arvizo, 33, who is wanted on a charge of first-degree murder in connection with Montoya’s death.
Arvizo lives in Denver but may be in the Alamosa area in south-central Colorado, police said.
Anybody with information on his whereabouts is asked to call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867. Tipsters can stay anonymous. Police will hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday with Montoya’s family and friends.
Montoya’s remains were found in Saguache County in July. Police said Tuesday they determined that Montoya was killed in Denver.
The 26-year-old was last seen around 2:30 a.m. on April 2 at the Hangar Bar, where he enjoyed playing pool, near W. Jewell Avenue and S. Wadsworth Boulevard in Lakewood. He had left his truck at his girlfriend’s Lakewood apartment before heading to the bar in an Uber. He was scheduled to go into the Marines the following day.
That night, he met some strangers and they offered to give him a ride at the end of the night, his father Eddie Montoya said. Then, something happened.
His mother Corinna Montoya said James used Snapchat around S. Federal Boulevard and W. Alameda Avenue after leaving the bar early on April 2, but had had no contact with any family or friends since. The family said James left with someone they did not recognize. They had just met that night, Corinna said. The family described the stranger as a Hispanic man in a black shirt, black pants and a Red Sox cap.
What followed were months of questions and heartache with few answers.
“It’s been a wild ride searching highways and byways and ditches and swamps and bridges and dumpsters and alleys and everywhere you can look,” Eddie told Denver7 in August. “And then miraculously, his body was found in a place that nobody would have ever found it. It was just a miracle.”
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Corinna told Denver7 on Tuesday that the suspect was the person last seen on her son’s Snapchat. She said Arvizo has been on the run and avoiding speaking with police, and she believes he is hiding in the area where her son’s remains were ultimately found.
“From what I understand, the police have confirmed that my son just met him that morning or night here at the Hangar Bar,” she said. “I believe… We knew from day one — we had a suspicion that it was him. We spoke with him actually on the phone. And we talked with him and he said he dropped my son off at a certain location, which we believe that didn’t happen. And so ever since then, my son never called or came back home.”
Corinna said Arvizo denied any kind of involvement.
“But we just knew something in our heart — we knew he was lying,” she said. “We knew this was not normal for my son to disappear like this. So, we were just really reaching out to the police to say, ‘Please take this serious.’ And so finally, you know, that’s what took place.”
While the suspect’s arrest will not bring back her son, she said her family will continue to fight for justice.
“I want his name out there,” she said. “I want people to know this person is not safe. He’s not a safe person. And please do something. Please feel for our family. We’ve been suffering for six, seven months now. Please help… We’re seeking the community’s help. I mean, this could be your family member, your sister, your mom, your dad, your uncle, your brother, your son. Do you have some compassion? Can you have some compassion for our family?”
Anybody with information on the suspect’s whereabouts can anonymously call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867. Tipsters can earn up to $2,000.
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