DENVER (KDVR) — A 24-year-old cold case has been solved after a Denver woman’s killer has finally been sentenced.

A Denver District Court judge sentenced 58-year-old Crespin Nene-Perez to serve a minimum prison term of 20 years for the 1998 domestic violence cold case homicide of his then-girlfriend Bonny Baker.

Nearly 24 years after her death, Nene-Perez pleaded guilty to one count of murder in the second degree on March 25.

The cold case dates back to June 30, 1998, when 47-year-old Baker was reported missing. Baker’s remains were then discovered in July of 1999 in New Mexico when two boys riding horses in a remote area of tribal land came across her remains. The boys found her skull which was then placed in the custody of the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator.

Nene-Perez had killed Baker and left her body in a shallow grave on Navajo tribal grounds within a day of her disappearance.

“Today’s outcome is a testament to the decade-long collaboration and persistence of Denver’s dedicated cold case teams on a case that, in other jurisdictions, may have been deemed unsolvable,” said Chief Deputy Weber. 

Baker’s son, Jose Jaurigue, was in attendance for Nene-Perez’s hearing. He wore a button with his mother’s high school photo on it.

“She wasn’t just a mother to her own children; she was a mother to other peoples’ children in the neighborhood. In late June of 1998, that mother was taken from us by a selfish monster who was unable to share her with us,” said Jaurigue.

In October of 2012, the Cold Case Unit of the Denver Police Department reopened Baker’s homicide case. The team worked with the Navajo tribal officials to confirm the remains were indeed Baker’s. In 2013, police completed further rounds of witness interviews and forensic testing to arrest Nene-Perez.

Nene-Perez was living in Mexico at the time that his arrest warrant was issued and was extradited back to Denver in 2020.