DENVER (KDVR) — A Denver Police detective will serve a three-day suspension after an internal affairs investigation found Detective Ana Munoz failed to follow up with a domestic violence victim, who was found killed three months later.

Elizabeth Hatlas was found dead in the backyard of the home she shared with her boyfriend in August 2022. Travis Tuomi, 44, has been charged with her murder.

In May 2022, police officers responded to a verbal altercation between the couple. At the time, Hatlas told officers Tuomi had strangled her three months earlier, on Feb. 12, 2022.

Detective on domestic violence unit

The case was assigned to Detective Munoz on May 12, who had just been promoted to the domestic violence unit on May 1, 2022.

Munoz told Internal Affairs that she called Hatlas on May 15 but couldn’t leave a message, because the mailbox was full, and never attempted to contact her again.

Munoz would later say the case was a low priority because of the victim’s three-month delay in reporting the case, noting “any physical evidence of strangulation would have healed,” but also admitted she should have tried more than once to call Hatlas.

Another domestic violence detective said the “unwritten rule” was to make three attempts to reach a victim but acknowledged that had Munoz done that and still failed to reach the victim, there would have been no probable cause to make an arrest.

Denver’s domestic violence unit has big caseload

The Internal Affairs report revealed a staggering caseload for Denver’s domestic violence unit, where 11 detectives are working on 1,000 active cases, with each detective processing 10-20 new cases per week.

At the time Munoz was promoted, the unit was down a detective, and three veteran domestic violence unit detectives had unexpectedly retired or resigned citing stress and an unrealistic workload.

Munoz will serve her three-day suspension from May 21-23.

She previously served an 18-day suspension after leaving her rifle unsecured in the front passenger seat of her patrol car, which allowed a car-jacking suspect to use it as a threat toward other officers after he stole Munoz’s patrol car.

Adam Martinez, 26, would be shot dead by other officers after waving the rifle outside the car window during a police chase on Oct. 21, 2019.