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Monday, March 30, 2020

The Sasha Krause Murder Case

     Sasha Marie Krause was born on April 8, 1992 in Temple, Texas. She grew up in a house with her parents Robert and Laura Krause and her six siblings. In 2003, when she was eleven, Sasha's parents joined the Mennonite Church.

     In 2013, Sasha Krause moved to Grandview, Texas where she took a job teaching school at the Grandview Gospel Fellowship. She taught at the school for six years. Extremely bright and hardworking, Sasha taught herself to become fluent in Spanish and French. She also wrote poems and lyrics for gospel hymns.

     In June 2018, Sasha Krause moved from Grandview, Texas to a Mennonite compound located in the Crouch Mesa section of Farmington, New Mexico, a city of 45,000 in the northwest corner of the state. She had come to New Mexico to work as a volunteer at Lamp & Light Publishers, a 46-year-old company that distributed Bibles, Bible study materials, Mennonite correspondence courses and religious school texts in English, French and Spanish. Most of the Lamp & Light staff, 19 in all, were Mennonite volunteers like Sasha.

     Miss Krause also taught Sunday school classes at the nearby Farmington Mennonite Church, a 150-member congregation affiliated with the Nationwide Fellowship of Churches.

     Farmington, New Mexico, with a per capital crime rate of 53 crimes per 100,000 residents, was the most dangerous city in the state. Over the past five years, violent crime in the city had risen 50 percent. The city also had one of the highest unemployment rates--8.9 percent--in the country.

     At eight o'clock on the evening of January 18, 2020, after having dinner with her roommates at the compound, Sasha Krause drove her car the short distance to the Farmington Mennonite Church to pick up books for her Sunday school class. At three o'clock the next morning, when she hadn't returned to the compound, one of her roommates called the San Juan County Sheriff's Office to report her missing. Deputies were immediately dispatched to the compound to investigate.

     The fact the missing woman had not taken her purse when she left the compound suggested that she intended to return to her room that evening.

     Shortly after responding to the missing person call, officers located Krause's car sitting in the Farmington Mennonite Church parking lot.

     Over the next several days, volunteers in the close-knit community searched for the missing Mennonite woman. K-9 teams and police officers on the ground and in the air also looked for Sasha Krause. Investigators canvassed the neighborhood for information that might lead to her recovery. One witness reportedly saw, about the time Sasha left the compound that evening, a white SUV, minivan or pickup parked behind the Farmington Mennonite Church. Another witness reportedly saw, about this time, a "white smaller SUV" speeding from the area. (If there are surveillance cameras in the vicinity of the compound, church and Lamp & Light building, the authorities have not revealed what they recorded that Friday evening.)

     The sheriff's office placed Sasha Krause's personal information into several missing person databases, and offered a $50,000 reward to information leading to her whereabouts.

     In the late afternoon of Friday, February 21, 2020, a camper walking in the desert between the Sunset Crater (volcano) National Monument Park and the Wupatki National Monument Park north of Flagstaff, Arizona, came across the body of a young woman that matched the general description of Sasha Krause. The camper found the body near Forest Service Road 545 in Coconino County about 270 miles from Farmington, New Mexico.

     Fingerprints taken from the presumably murdered woman in the desert matched Sasha Krause's prints that were on file at the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.

     On Monday, February 21, 2020, a forensic pathologist with the Coconino County Medical Examiner's Office in Flagstaff performed the autopsy. The medical examiner did not, however, reveal the victim's cause or manner of death.

     Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, given the interstate nature of the presumed abduction, joined the investigation. 

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