A Cortez house sitter involved in several identity theft cases was found dead in her home on Nov. 21, according to police.
Montezuma County Coroner George Deavers said the cause of death had not been determined as of Nov. 28. The Cortez Police Department declined to provide any other information about Sutch’s death, saying it was being investigated.
Jessica Sutch, 39, was facing four theft-related charges in Montezuma County Combined Courts, after several Montezuma County residents claimed she had stolen money and other items while she was house-sitting this summer. Montezuma County District Court Judge Todd Plewe and Montezuma County Judge JenniLynn Lawrence issued a total of five warrants for her arrest after she failed to appear in court for plea hearings on Nov. 21 and for arraignment in another case on Nov. 22. Cortez police public information officer Andy Brock said she was found dead in her Cortez home about 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 21.
Sutch had been arrested Aug. 30 on suspicion of fraud after a Montezuma County resident claimed she had used her credit card to make more than $2,000 in unauthorized purchases while taking care of her house. She was later charged in two other felony identity theft cases, and was arrested on suspicion of forgery on Oct. 25 while those cases were still ongoing.
Defense attorney John Moran said in a hearing on Nov. 7 that Sutch had not had a criminal record before 2017, and could get “back on track” with supervision and counseling.
Sutch started a GoFundMe account in April, which she said would help pay for doctor’s appointments to treat a collagen disorder. The account raised only $135 out of her $1,000 goal as of Nov. 28.
According to her obituary, Sutch graduated from Montezuma-Cortez High School and had careers in insurance and special education before starting the house-sitting business. Her family held a “celebration of her life” at the Lewis-Arriola Community Center on Monday.