Police looking for clues in Aspen woman’s death
ASPEN, Colorado – As the investigation continued Tuesday into the woman whose body was discovered a day earlier next to the Pitkin County Library in Aspen, friends and the husband of Cheryl Ann Lurie mourned her death while remembering her selfless approach to life.
“She was a very loving and giving and caring person,” husband Martin Lurie said. “The reality about my wife is that she’s someone I’ll sorely miss. We’ve been together for 20 years. That’s all I’m equipped to say right now.”
Lurie, 54, made Aspen home about 35 years ago, friends said, working as a waitress and cook at the Elks Lodge and previously holding down stints at the Hickory House and the now-defunct O’Leary’s pub, among other jobs.
But it was her charitable work that resonated with her friends. Just Sunday, she had made arrangements to work at Thursday’s banquet for an Aspen youth football team, which the Elks sponsored this season.
“She was always volunteering,” said Brian O’Neil, secretary for the Elks Lodge. “She was a good person. She loved being out socially. She had a lot of energy.”
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
Another longtime acquaintance, Roger Ryan, said: “She was the sweetest person ever. She had a great sense of humor.”
Two of her closest friends, Michelle Mains Sanchez, and husband Andy “Skippy” Sanchez, hurried back to Aspen from Moab after they heard the news. The couple had known Lurie for some 30 years.
“We’re shocked and saddened … losing someone who is so special to so many people in such a tragic way,” said Michelle Sanchez, who owns a gardening and landscape business that Lurie worked for during the summers.
Police investigators, meanwhile, were trying to cobble together the sequence of events prior to Lurie’s passing.
Aspen Police Department detective Chris Womack said there was nothing to indicate foul play occurred. So far, Womack’s investigation has shown that the most recent time anyone had contact with Lurie was at approximately 6:30 p.m. Sunday, and she was last seen at Bentley’s at the Wheeler, before she started to walk in the direction of her Hunter Creek residence.
Lurie’s body was discovered, face up, on a grassy area next to a concrete wall, on the north side of the plaza located between the library and courthouse. The area in which she was found had no snow cover, as it was under several tall spruce trees. She was discovered by a passerby at 10:30 a.m. Monday, police said.
Found 10 to 15 yards to the right of her body were her coat, one glove and a purse. Lurie did not own a cell phone, Womack said.
The overnight temperature reached a low of 3 degrees on Sunday, Womack said.
The detective said that had it been summertime, the body likely would have been discovered much earlier because the foot traffic is heavier in that area when the weather is warmer, Womack said.
“I’m sure a lot more people would have noticed her,” he said.
Results of the autopsy were not made available as of press time Tuesday.