Woman found in Vail Dumpster requests exclusion of police testimony from trial, scheduled for February | VailDaily.com

Woman found in Vail Dumpster requests exclusion of police testimony from trial, scheduled for February

EAGLE — Defense attorneys want to keep interviews with Vail Police detectives out of a trial for a woman who police say put herself in a dumpster and then lied about it.

Linnea Hayda claimed someone had thrown her in a West Vail dumpster in the pre-dawn hours of March 27.

After more than 200 hours of investigation, Vail Police detectives said Hayda's allegations are "fictitious" and charged her with false reporting.

Back in court this week, Hayda's defense attorneys requested that District Court Judge Paul Dunkelman exclude police interviews conducted after Hayda was taken to the Vail hospital.

On the morning of the incident, Hayda was screaming and hammering on the inside of the dumpster. A man walking his dog heard her. It was 5 a.m.

Vail firefighters responded in moments and, as a precaution, strapped her to a backboard while she was still in the dumpster. They lifted her out and she was transported to the Vail hospital.

Recommended Stories For You

Treating her like a victim

At the time, police were operating from the perspective that she was a victim, that everything happened as Hayda said it did.

"We believed her to be the victim of a serious crime and that she would be the key to apprehending a suspect," Vail Police Detective Sgt. Luke Causey testified in a Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 14, hearing.

Police were trying to find the person who dumped her into the dumpster, Vail Police Officer Greg Schwartz said.

During her interview, Hayda named a man who lived in that neighborhood with whom she had been intimate, Schwartz said.

She was emotional during the interview, answering a few questions and then crying out emotionally, insisting she was "scared," "afraid" Schwartz said. She stopped talking to sob, Schwartz said. She asked several times to speak with her therapist.

Detective Dan Torgeson was working with the Vail Police at the time and interviewed Hayda in the hospital. Torgeson said she was speaking clearly and answered complex questions. She showed no signs of using alcohol or drugs.

False reporting and other charges

Hayda is charged with attempting to influence a public servant, a Class 4 felony; tampering with physical evidence, a Class 6 felony; and false reporting to police, a Class 3 misdemeanor.

If she is convicted, then she faces up to six years in prison, prosecutors said. Hayda is free on $7,500 bond.

Hayda is back in court Friday, Dec. 14, and Tuesday, Dec. 18, for more hearings. Her trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 4.

What police say happened

At approximately 5:37 a.m. Tuesday, March 27, three days before a Friday, March 30, custody hearing in District Court involving her children, Hayda was found in the dumpster with her wrists ziptied in front of her, according to police.

A court protection order made it illegal for her to be in the vicinity of the apartment at 1040 Vail View Drive, Vail Police confirmed.

The next day, Hayda came to the Vail Daily building in Eagle-Vail. She had scrapes on her cheek and forehead and voluntarily told a reporter that she had finished her shift at her Avon job between 4 and 5 p.m. Monday, March 26. She claimed that she was abducted around 5:30 p.m. and that the person who took her threw her into a car and told her she would not see her children again.

During that interview, Hayda said she did not remember anything until she was found in the dumpster the next morning.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.