Authorities identify victim in Taylorsville homicide investigation

Posted at 3:21 PM, Apr 17, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-17 23:30:50-04

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah -- A retired elementary school teacher was murdered in her own home, Unified Police Department officials said.

Autopsy results reveal disturbing news about what happened to a Taylorsville widow who lived near 40th West and 56th South.

UPD officials said 59 year-old Margaret Steffey was suffocated, possibly by someone she knew and police need the public's help to find the killer.

"I'm sorry," said Margarita Campuzano as she burst into tears after hearing what happened to her neighbor, who she said was like family.

"I'm so sad because she's such a nice person, she come to the parties at my home, Thanksgiving and Christmas," Campuzano said.

Cops discovered Margaret Steffey's body during a welfare check Wednesday morning. Her family hadn't spoken with her since Saturday. Campuzano wishes she would've been home to notice any suspicious activity.

For the second day in a row, detectives searched the victim's home, seizing evidence from the basement, including home office furniture, documents and a computer.

Unified Fire Authority also assisted with a ladder truck so investigators could take aerial photographs of the property. Thursday's autopsy results confirm what police suspected from the beginning, but several questions remain unanswered.

"We don't know what the object or objects used to suffocate and kill her, but we know that was the cause of death," said Lt. Justin Hoyal with the Unified Police Department.

Many are wondering, who would hurt a retired elementary school teacher and widow who lived alone?

"We don't believe this was just a random crime," added Lt. Hoyal. "Obviously there's indications of no forced entry into the home that would lead us to believe someone had contact with her that possibly she knew."

Police do not have suspects. Campuzano hopes tips will start to pour in. She wants justice.

"She's a nice person,” Campuzano said. “She never did anything bad to nobody. I love her."

Unified Police officials say if you saw anything suspicious Saturday or later in the area, please call them at 385-468-9816.