MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL
a division of the
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
Division of Drug and Crime Control-P.O. Box 568, Jefferson City, Missouri 65102
For further information please contact:
Sergeant Darrin Haslag
July 26, 2023
Remains Identified, Arrest Made For Murder Of Missing Colorado Woman
The Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Division of Drug and Crime Control announces the arrest of Benjamin Tyler Simmons, 36, of Fort Morgan, CO. On June 6, 2023, Simmons was charged by the Clay County Prosecuting Attorney with first degree murder and abandonment of a corpse, in relation to the death of Sarah Tafoya, 37, of Sterling, CO.
On May 4, 2023, the Missouri State Highway Patrol began an investigation into the disappearance of Tafoya, reported missing by her estranged husband, who said he last spoke with her on May 1, 2023. During that conversation, Tafoya’s estranged husband reported she told him she was somewhere in Clay County Missouri, in the company of Benjamin T. Simmons, and “needed help”.
On May 23, 2023, a witness reported to investigators that Simmons confessed to having killed Tafoya, in a Kansas City area hotel, and disposed of her body in a wooded area, in Clay County. On May 25, 2023, investigators with the Division of Drug and Crime Control interviewed Simmons who confessed to the killing and provided investigators with a location where he reportedly left the body. Investigators searched the area provided by Simmons and located human remains. These remains were ultimately identified as Sarah Tafoya, of Sterling, Colorado.
Simmons is being held in the Missouri Department of Corrections Fulton Reception and Diagnostic Center on an unrelated probation violation and has an active Clay County warrant for first degree murder and abandonment of a corpse. Simmons’ Clay County cash only bond is set at $5,000,000.00. The Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Division and Drug and Crime Control Troop A and Troop D Criminal Units conducted this investigation, along with assistance of the Kansas City (Missouri) Police Department.
The above charges are mere accusation and are not evidence of guilt. Evidence in support of these charges must be presented before a court of competent jurisdiction whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
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