Suspect arrested in City Park lake death

Haley Candelario

Jeffrey Scott Etheridge was arrested by Fort Collins Police Services on June 28 in connection to the murder at Sheldon Lake. (Photo courtesy of Larimer County Sheriff’s Office).

Fort Collins Police Services confirmed on Thursday that they made an arrest regarding their investigation of a body found in City Park lake.

Jeffrey Scott Etheridge was arrested on Wednesday for the murder of Heather “Helena” Hoffman. Etheridge is suspected to have murdered Hoffman on June 21 and suspected of sexually assaulting her.


During their investigation, detectives found evidence connecting Etheridge to the murder of Hoffman and obtained a warrant for his arrest on June 28. Detectives have not yet stated what evidence linked Etheridge to the murder.

According to the Coloradoan, Etheridge is a self-described transient who recently moved to Fort Collins and is a designated sex offender in Florida. Kate Kimble, a spokeswoman for FCPS, told the Coloradoan that there is no indication Etheridge and Hoffman knew each other, but police are still trying to determine if they were acquaintances.

A citizen called police on June 21 to report a deceased person, later identified as Hoffman, floating in the water at Sheldon Lake.

FCPS announced that they would investigate Hoffman’s death as a suspicious death a few days after her body was found. According to FCPS, an examination conducted by LCCO showed that Hoffman’s body had injuries potentially caused by foul play. Detectives also ruled out an accidental injury or death following their evaluation of the scene and numerous interviews, according to FCPS.

Hoffman was an employee at the McDonald’s on Elizabeth Street and City Park Avenue and typically walked home from work. She was last seen leaving her shift at 1 a.m. on June 21, and she was still wearing her work uniform when her body was discovered. Her cause and manner of death will be released at a later time.

This is a developing story. The Collegian will update this article as more information becomes available.

Collegian news director Haley Candelario can be reached at or on Twitter @H_Candelario98.