AFFIDAVIT — Casper Man, Found Murdered After Reported Missing, Stabbed 25 Times
Court documents allege that a Casper man who was found murdered nearly two months after he was reported missing was stabbed at least 25 times.
Justin Armando Marquez is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Ryan Schroeder, who was reported missing.
An affidavit of probable cause states Schroeder's badly decomposed body was found near an abandoned homestead northeast of Coal Mountain Road on August 30 following a nearly two-month investigation.
According to the affidavit, Schroeder's mother reported her son missing on July 6. Schroeder's mother told detectives that she'd last spoken with her son on June 24. She also said she'd been unable to find anyone who'd seen or spoken with her son since June 26. Schroeder also had two minor children who hadn't heard from him — and that was highly unusual.
After speaking with acquaintances of both Schroeder and Marquez, detectives learned Schroeder "kind of got stuck" in Denver.
A search of Schroeder's phone records indicated that his last phone call was with Marquez. They'd also exchanged 67 phone calls during the month of June.
Marquez reportedly told detectives that Schroeder texted him asking to hang out, but the two never saw each other while they were in Denver. The affidavit alleges Marquez further told detectives that he hadn't heard from Schroeder since leaving Denver.
But others who knew both Schroeder and Marquez told detectives that the two "partied" together the night and morning of June 25 and June 26. One source described to detectives that Schroeder and Marquez were arguing like "an old married couple," the affidavit states.
Marquez and Schroeder reportedly left for Casper that morning.
Court documents state detectives researched vehicles registered to Marquez and found a maroon 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe. The vehicle was not at Marquez's residence.
In August, detectives obtained a search warrant for the vehicle, which Marquez was storing at a Casper storage facility.
Inside the vehicle, investigators found blood on various surfaces including the driver's side window and front windshield. A bottle of window cleaner was found inside the vehicle along with streaks on the passenger front window.
Court documents state detectives also found large quantities of blood on and surrounding the front passenger seat, the driver's seat and center console.
"The distinct smell of decomposition was noted inside the vehicle," a detective writes in the affidavit.
Blood samples found in the vehicle came back with a high likelihood of belonging to Schroeder, the affidavit states.
According to court records, a separate vehicle belonging to Marquez was under electronic surveillance. Surveillance records indicated that, on August 27, Marquez made a loop involving Wyoming 220, Coal Mountain Road and Wyoming Highway 487.
The surveillance indicated that the vehicle made a "significant" stop at a "specific coordinate" before resuming on Coal Mountain Road to State Highway 487. The vehicle also stopped for a few minutes at El Rio Road.
On August 30, a large-scale search of Coal Mountain Road was conducted by the Casper Police Department, Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, Natrona County Sheriff's Office and Natrona County Search and Rescue.
At roughly 3:30 that afternoon, law enforcement found a bloodied towel at an abandoned homestead camp northeast of Coal Mountain Road. The smell of decomposition was emitting from the towel. Immediately following, a badly decomposed body was found in a creek at the edge of the homestead.
The affidavit states at least 25 stab marks were found on Schroeder's shirt in the upper chest and upper back. Several stab wounds penetrated Schroeder's rib and sternum bones.
Also found partially at the scene was a burn barrel containing a 5XL blue polo shirt, a wooden dowel road, a tan patch of clothing material, leather belt remnants, a partial Walmart receipt and blue plastic drawstrings from a plastic garbage bag among other items.
Schroeder's sunglasses were also found at the scene.
Second-degree murder is punishable by 20 years to life behind bars.
Marquez is being held on $500,000 cash-only bond.