Valley students and residents may vividly recall the mysterious case of the disappearance of Danice Day on January 9, 2002. Day was from Monte Vista, Colorado. What followed were many speculations. In a small farming community like Monte Vista, the rumors never failed, as everyone had their own version of what led to the disappearance of this 19 year old mother of two.
Nearly eight years later, this once cold case seems to finally be on the verge of being completely closed and resolved. When the case first opened, many people wondered if her boyfriend was the guilty party in her disappearance. Authorities always named Victor Vaun, 33, a prime suspect in her disappearance. Vaun is also the father of one of Day’s two children. He has an extensive criminal record, and was serving time at the Rio Grande County jail on charges of burglary, drugs, and motor vehicle theft. Vaun gave authorities information this summer about where to locate Day’s remains as part of a negotiation with the District Attorney’s office.
Vaun’s information led police to Lyman Lake, Arizona. There they discovered two barrels. One tested negative for any connection to the Day Case, while the other had positive results. The Rio Grande Sheriff’s Office was notified on Friday, September 18, 2009 that the barrel contained human remains, and did in fact belong to Danice Day. Before this discovery was made, many members of the Monte Vista Community had been sharing a similar story of where Danice Day might be located.
The Rio Grande County Sherriff’s Office has stated that Vaun is being charged with manslaughter, and no other suspects have been prosecuted. Sheriff Norton said, “The investigation continues into that person, or those persons, that had knowledge, or assisted in the disappearance of Danice Day.” If further investigation leads to further suspects, they will also be brought into custody.
The District Attorney’s Office has announced the maximum sentence Vaun faces for Manslaughter is 12 years.
Meanwhile, the family of Danice Day is angry and saddened. However, they can now begin planning a proper memorial service for Danice. “Even until the last minute we wanted to believe … You really do hold out hope for a long time until it’s right in your face,” said Danice’s sister Jacqui at a press conference held on Tuesday. “I guess we just need to bond together as a family and get through it.”