Jefferson County Sheriff
(April 15) -- Authorities in Colorado are investigating the murder of an Evergreen woman who they say was killed by her younger brother. A motive in the case remains unclear, but the details surrounding her death are bizarre.
A Jefferson County Sheriff's Office arrest affidavit indicates that deputies were dispatched to the 30000 block of Hilltop Drive on April 8 in response to a report of a female who was not breathing. Upon arrival at the scene, deputies were greeted by 17-year-old Rebecca Santaguida who directed them to the bottom of a basement staircase, where her sister, Elizabeth Santaguida, 24, lay sprawled on the floor.
Rigor mortis had already set in, suggesting that Elizabeth had been dead for several hours. Initial observations of her body showed a ligature mark around her neck; however, investigators were unable to determine what caused the injury. The affidavit also states that Elizabeth's pants were pulled down, exposing her panties.
When questioned by police, Rebecca said that she had called her father, Richard Santaguida, at about 10:30 p.m. to find out when her sister would be home. Richard is a doctor who evaluates patients to determine whether they qualify for medical marijuana. Elizabeth worked with her father, assisting him in his work.
During investigator conversations with the family, Elizabeth's 18-year-old brother, Zachariah, sat at a table cutting his fingernails with nail clippers. He told police that he had been home the entire day, but had slept through most it. He said he considered himself a "shut in."
When investigators searched the Santaguida home, which they described to be "in complete disarray," with "clutter and trash" scattered throughout, they found numerous prescription medications, beer cans and a Jagermeister bottle in the basement.
Richard told police that Elizabeth was on numerous "psych" meds, but that she was not capable of hurting herself.
Zachariah admitted to police that he had gone downstairs on the afternoon of his sister's death to retrieve some "DVDs" and "beef raviolis." He said that, while he was down there, his sister had surprised him and told him to put the items down, so he did. He also admitted to watching pornographic films and said that, on occasion, he had taken those types of movies from his sister.
The second interview with Rebecca was more revealing.
She said that she believed her brother had recently stolen a bottle of Jagermeister from her sister. When she told Elizabeth of her suspicion, she said that her sister noticed that a vibrator she had stored next to the bottle was also missing. Elizabeth told her that the sex toy, which she had received as a "gag gift," was unused and still in the original packaging. The vibrator was later found hidden beneath the cushions in a couch. The affidavit states that it was not in the original packaging.
Rebecca told police that she did not know whether Elizabeth had confronted Zachariah about the stolen items.
ccording to cbs4denver.com, Zachariah recently dropped out of Evergreen High School, where he was a senior. Former classmates have given mixed opinions of him. Some say he was a loner, whereas others describe him as jubilant.
"Whenever I like, see him, he seems to be all fun and joy and stuff like that. But when he's with other kids, he seems to be out of control," a classmate, Josh Rivera, told the Web site.