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Police: Three arrested after missing South Jordan man found dead in crawlspace

Posted at 11:22 AM, Jan 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-20 22:19:29-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Officials with the Salt Lake City Police Department said that three people have been arrested in connection with the homicide of David Stokoe.

Stokoe's body was discovered late Friday evening in the crawlspace of a residence,  Det. Greg Wilking with Salt Lake City Police said.

Stokoe was reported missing on Thursday when his wife called authorities after he did not return from work, according to police.

Investigators learned Stokoe was going to collect rent at the residence where his body was found, on Princeton Avenue near Windsor Street. When officers went to the residence Friday afternoon, Wilking said no one answered the door and entry into the apartment was made.

Wilking stated that investigators "saw things" in the residence that lead them to believe that it was a crime scene. Stokoe was later located in a hidden crawlspace of the residence and appeared to have been shot dead, according to investigators. Wilking said it was believed that Stokoe was killed on Thursday.

When looking for suspects, Wilking said that investigators focused on the individuals who were residents of the apartment where Stokoe was attempting to collect rent.

After numerous search warrants were executed, multiple people were interviewed and Stokoe's car was found, Wilking said investigators were able to locate three individuals who were believed to be responsible for the homicide.

Wilking stated that Manuel Velasquez, 31, was arrested for homicide and other related charges. Two other individuals, identified as Jessica Miller, 38, and Diana Hernandez, 30, were arrested for obstruction of justice related to the incident.

Wilking said investigators were still trying to piece together what transpired during the homicide.

Stokoe's family sent the following statement to media outlets:

“Our hearts are broken over the loss of Dave. This situation is tragic beyond words, but we are remembering Dave the way he deserves to be remembered, as a hero and champion. We know we will see him again someday, and that families are forever. We are choosing to focus on the love we feel from everyone, and the love we feel for Dave, rather than resentment surrounding the circumstances of his death. He’s cheering for us, watching over us, and wants us to love life and love each other.

We are so grateful for the overwhelming love and support we've received through prayers, service, emails, posts, and texts. We feel your prayers and appreciate the outpouring of love and charity from friends, neighbors and strangers.”

- Landon Stokoe

A GoFundMe for Stokoe's family can be found here.

A press conference on the incident can be seen below: