POWELL (WNE) — Law enforcement officials say evidence indicates that a former local resident murdered a woman in Cheyenne over the weekend, then attempted to hide her body in a remote area south of Cody Saturday afternoon.
The Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation has identified the victim as 40-year-old Angela Elizondo; agents believe Elizondo was killed in Cheyenne, where she lived, the division told media outlets on Tuesday.
The suspect charged in connection with the case is 45-year-old Joseph C. Underwood of Cheyenne, a former Cody resident with a lengthy criminal record.
Underwood was arrested just hours after a hunter found Elizondo’s body along a two-track road west of Wyo. Highway 120, roughly halfway between Cody and Meeteetse. According to charging documents, Underwood returned to the area where he'd allegedly left the woman’s body late on Saturday night and was spotted by a Park County Sheriff’s deputy who’d been posted at the crime scene. A pursuit and then a roughly 2 1/2 hour standoff with officers ensued, in which Underwood reportedly threatened to shoot himself.
The Park County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has charged Underwood with four criminal counts in connection with the incident: disposing of a human body in order to conceal a felony crime and possessing a firearm despite a prior conviction for a violent felony, plus misdemeanor counts of fleeing or eluding police and interference with a peace officer.
Although Underwood has not been formally accused of killing Elizondo, Deputy Park County Prosecuting Attorney Jack Hatfield said at a Tuesday morning court hearing that Underwood “is likely going to be charged with murder in the coming weeks, once the autopsy is completed and the investigation’s complete in another county.”