Homicide Investigation Underway in Bishop’s Death
By Kathy Bedell, © Saguache Today
“We do consider this a homicide investigation,” confirmed Saguache County Sheriff Dan Warwick in an interview with Saguache Today on February 22. Last Sunday, Feb. 18 the deceased body of Brandy “Raven” Bishop, 37, of Saguache was found by a local male hiker in the area of County Roads 42 and Z.
Bishop, who had lived in Saguache for “a few years,” had not been reported as a Missing Person, according to Sheriff Warwick. The case is currently under investigation by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, and local authorities are hoping to speak to Bishop’s boyfriend at the time of her death, a Saguache resident. While official investigation protocols would not allow Sheriff Warwick to release his name, Saguache Today was able to confirm her boyfriend’s identity by a local thrift store employee where Bishop had worked and volunteered up until last October (2017).
“Jo-Jo,” as Raven (Bishop) called him, is Joseph Garcia, who has deep family roots in Saguache and the San Luis Valley. He is currently considered a person of interest in the investigation, and is being encouraged to contact authorities.
While Warwick did not want to speculate on how long Bishop was out there, he did state in an interview with Saguache Today that her body did not appear to have any visible trauma, like a gunshot wound or noticeable bruising. The Saguache County Sheriff added that her body was intact, suggesting that it had not been exposed to the elements for an extended period of time, nor had been compromised by any wildlife or severe decomposition.
For those unfamiliar with the County Roads 42 and Z intersection, it is located west of the town of Saguache, and sits adjacent to the Rio Grande National Forest and The San Luis Resource Area, which is managed by the Forest Service. While this area is popular with summer hikers, this time of year, up until the last several days, the area has seen unseasonably warm temperatures, leading to more winter hiker traffic then the area would normally see in February. Although the male hiker who discovered Bishop’s body was a local, he did not appear to know or have any relationship to her.
While the official autopsy by the Saguache Coroner has been complete, it will be several weeks until the full report and cause of death will be released.
In the meantime, Bishop’s relatives in Ohio have been making plans to bring her body back for burial. Local Saguache friends have been sharing a Go Fund Me Page established by Bishop’s Aunt Carrie Bowersock to help defray transportation and funeral costs. Reader can connect HERE.
There is also an interesting side note to the Bishop case. Sheriff Warwick reported that there had been an increase in Missing Persons reports since the Bishop investigation was initiated. Perhaps it’s just human nature that when tragic incidents like this arise, people have the need to re-connect with relatives or friends they may not have seen or heard from in a while.
“I’ve handled about 4-5 additional Missing Persons calls since this,” explained Sheriff Warwick. “None of those proved to be suspicious, just people who didn’t want to be found by the people looking for them!” Good to know, because Bishop’s death is heart-breaking enough. RIP, Raven.
Any other individuals who may have information concerning the circumstances of Bishop’s death are asked to contact the Saguache County Sheriff’s Office at 719-655-2544.