Police arrest suspect in death of woman in her downtown Denver apartment

Photo: Denver Police Department

DENVER — Police arrested homicide suspect Terry Dunford Friday night. He is being held for investigation of First Degree Murder in the death of 49-year-old Jeanna Leslie. The police department made the announcement in a Twitter post Saturday afternoon.

Investigators released the name and pictures of the suspect in the death of Leslie earlier Friday.

The body of a mother of four was found with multiple sharp force injuries in her apartment in the 1500 block of Stout Street shortly after midnight on Wednesday.

She had only been living in Denver for about three months, according to family members.

Police believed Dunford, 40, was homeless in the downtown Denver area. The police department thanked the public for tips that helped lead to the suspect’s arrest.

The arrest affidavit says the victim’s ex-husband called 911 on Tuesday, February 13 to tell police he had not heard from the mother of his children in over a week and she was supposed to pick them up that night to take them to a Denver Nuggets game. But she failed to pick them up.

It also says the victim and the suspect were seen together in surveillance video in a liquor store near her Stout Street early in the evening of February 7. That was the date of the last activity on Leslie’s cell phone.

Read the arrest affidavit here

Leslie was a former school teacher, originally from California, who was known for what loved ones call her free and open spirit.

“She just inspired people to chase their dreams and be different,” daughter Audra Leslie said.

“She definitely wasn’t afraid to live life and there’s always risks that come along with that,” daughter Brittany Leslie said from Orange County, California.

Audra and Brittany Leslie said their mom recently moved to Denver to be closer to her 16-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son.

The two kids live with their father, Jeanna’s ex-husband, in the Denver area.

“So shocking,” ex-husband Bill Leslie said. “You can’t even describe the range of emotions that the kids are going through.”

Jeanna moved to Denver after spending six months exploring the world.

“I’m glad that she spent her life doing that, doing what she wanted to do,” Audra Leslie said.

Family members described Jeanna Leslie as someone who was kind and compassionate to everyone including strangers.

The two eldest daughters said their mother was about to start substitute teaching in Colorado.

Now, they are planning her funeral while police try to figure who would want to hurt Jeanna and why.

Anyone with information on her death is asked to call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867.