For the most up to date information, please go to the website kept by her family: Danice Day
DNA testing to be done to confirm identity
By RUTH HEIDE
MONTE VISTA — One of the San Luis Valley’s most tragic mysteries may have been solved this week with the discovery of human remains believed to be Danice Day who disappeared from Monte Vista seven and a half years ago.
Day, who would have been 27 years old on May 8, disappeared on January 9, 2002, from Monte Vista where she lived.
Rio Grande Sheriff Brian Norton announced on Friday that human remains located in Lyman Lake State Park, Arizona, are believed to be those of the missing mother of two. Although not releasing the connection between Arizona and the San Luis Valley, or how authorities were led there, the sheriff said the remains were located through a combined effort of the Rio Grande Sheriff’s Office, Apache County Sheriff’s Office and the Utah Department of Public Safety Dive Team.
Norton said the dramatic turn in this seven-year-old case was the result of continued investigation over the years by his office and the district attorney’s office.
Norton said the remains have been turned over to the El Paso County forensic pathologist for further DNA testing that will hopefully lead to positive identification.
“We are looking for a quick turn around,” Norton said. However, he said it could be days or weeks before the results of the DNA testing are available.
The sheriff said he could not comment further on the case until the results are back.
Norton said no one has yet been charged in the Day case, and investigation continues regarding possible suspects.
“Due to court orders, no further information will be released,” Norton stated.
The sheriff said his office notified Day’s family about this most recent development.
The family is “just trying to process it all right now,” Danice’s older sister Jacqui Flint said on Friday.
“Everybody processes grief a little bit differently. Now we just have to come to terms all over again.”
She added, “I thought we would be relieved, and it’s like she is dead all over again because we did not ever know she was fully gone ... We just have mixed emotions ... I am not sure how to feel right now.”
Jacqui said although family members presumed Danice was dead, “we still half hoped ...”
She said from the information provided by the sheriff’s office, the family is fairly certain Danice has finally be found and can now be put to rest.
“We have had so many false leads,” Jacqui said. “We are pretty sure this time. We continually prayed that there would be closure, and this has led us closer to that closure we have wanted for so long.”
Because Danice had not been found, her family had not been able to hold a funeral or memorial for her, or to completely grieve. If the results of the DNA tests come back positive, the family will probably plan a funeral service for Danice, her sister said.
“We will wait until it’s confirmed. I know I want to put something together to make sure she’s honored somehow.”
Not allowing Danice’s memory to fade, Jacqui has maintained a web site “Danice Day, a web site regarding the disappearance of a young Colorado mother of two missing since January 9, 2002.”
The site chronicles the investigations of Danice’s case through newspaper articles from 2002 through last October when a “mystery bone” was found in Monte Vista. The discovery led to another false lead and another false hope for the family.
Initial articles talked about rewards offered for information on “missing mom” and described Danice’s height, weight, hair color, eye color and piercings.
Another article talked about searchers looking for “missing waitress” who already feared she was dead. Further articles spoke about potential suspects.
Letters to the editor were posted from family members. Articles featured candlelight vigils and gatherings on the anniversaries of Danice’s disappearance. First it was one year. This January it was seven.
Many postings were made by Danice’s father Rod who lives in the Valley. He counted the days since his daughter went missing and shared his anger that no one had been held accountable for her loss.
In October 2004, Rod Day recalled in “Danice of a Thousand Days” that it had been 1,000 days at that time since Danice was gone. “It goes without saying---our little girl is still missed very much! And we (all) love her,” he wrote.
Jacqui posted articles about fundraising efforts for the Carole Sund/Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation that posted a reward for information to help find Day.
The Danice Day web site also shared photographs from Danice’s life from childhood to adulthood, remembered special milestones such as birthdays and related the emotions of a family whose loved one was still out there.
An early photo showed a young Danice in a blue sweater, another camping, another with her cousins, and another with her own two children.
Danice’s oldest child, who was only 2 1/2 when his mother went missing, lives with his father in Missouri, and her daughter, who was just an infant when her mother disappeared, is being cared for by a paternal grandfather.
Danice shared a May 8 birthday with her daughter. Danice would have been 27 last month. Her older sister wrote a “happy birthday” note on the web site stating that Danice had been gone so long it felt sometimes as if she did not really know her anymore.
“I do remember this, though, she is/was one of the best friends I ever had and one of the most special people anyone could ever know. The mark she left on her family and friend’s lives will not change or go away.”
Jacqui said on Friday that although the recent discovery of what authorities believe to be her sister’s remains will bring some closure for the family, it will never completely end until someone is held accountable for Danice’s death.
“I just want to see justice,” Jacqui said.
She said one of the people who kept attention on her sister’s case was her grandfather who did not live to see the latest development in the case. He died last September.
“He never gave up. He always said ‘Jacqui don’t ever give up. Something’s going to happen’ ... He was right to keep hope alive.”
Sep 23, 2009 10:52 am US/Mountain Body Found In Ariz. Lake Confirmed As Colo. WomanDEL NORTE, Colo. (AP) ― Authorities say a body retrieved from an Arizona lake is that of a Colorado mother of two who disappeared more than seven years ago.
Officials in Rio Grande County, Colo., said Tuesday that DNA tests confirmed the body was Danice Day.
She was 19 when she disappeared from Monte Vista, Colo., in 2002. Her body was found in a barrel in Arizona's Lyman Lake in June. The cause of death hasn't been determined.
Rio Grande County District Attorney David Mahonee says 33-year-old Victor Braun, Day's boyfriend and the father of one of her children, will be charged with manslaughter.
Sheriff Brian Norton says investigators found Day's body through "negotiations" between Braun's attorney and prosecutors.
Day once lived in Laramie, Wyo., where her mother still lives.