A Kansas City man faces charges in the Nov. 29 murder of Denise Streeter, whose body was found in Plate Purchase Park, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced.
Gustavo M. Ortiz, 37, faces a charge of second-degree murder.
The body of Streeter, 49, of Kansas City, KS, was found in a wooded area in a rural part of the city that still runs on well water.
"You really couldn't see anything back in there," Dyana Cundiff said.
Cundiff's property abuts Platte Purchase Park on the south side.
"That's a surprise to me and my neighbors, that they found somebody in there," she said.
The body was found to the north on private property separated from the park with a fence.
"There's a drive that goes back to the area where she was located and it's like an old abandoned farmhouse back there and some other farm equipment," Officer Darin Snapp said.
"There used to be a house there that burned and consequently there's nobody that really uses that," Cundiff said.
She said the only time anyone's on the property is when hay gets harvested.
Police said they suspect Streeter's body had been there for at least a couple days before they got a call, about 2 p.m., from some people walking in the park who had strayed off the usual walking path.
"It's not part of the park and it's not a place where you would actually walk if you were going to go for a walk in the park. They said they were just going to venture out and they started walking through the woods, like this wooded area here, on the other side of the fence line and that's when they found her," Snapp said.
Police said the recent cold temperatures make it harder to determine how long the woman had been in the area, but where she was found is one major factor they're studying.
"We don't know if she was at the park at one time or just on that private property, so we're trying to piece it together, trying to ID her first and then, obviously, get in contact with people she knows and find out who she was hanging out with and how she died," Snapp said.
According to court documents, a witness told police that Ortiz picked up Streeter at a casino in Kansas City, KS, and took her to his home in the 3200 block of Brooklyn, where Ortiz and Streeter fought and he knocked her to the floor and choked her until she was dead.
Ortiz then loaded her body and directed someone to drive her to Platte Purchase Park. The Jackson County Medical Examiner found signs that Streeter had been choked.
Prosecutors requested Ortiz's bond be set at $250,000.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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