Suspect, 18, being held on murder charges in Hilltop Drive slaying

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Brother accused in death of sister, 24

By Vicky Gits

A man arrested April 9 on suspicion of killing his sister at their home on Hilltop Drive in Evergreen is being held on first-degree murder charges in the Jefferson County jail without bond.

The suspect, Zachariah Thomas Santaguida, 18, appeared Monday by video in County Judge Thomas Vance’s courtroom in the Jefferson County courthouse. Santaguida did not make a statement.

Santaguida was scheduled to appear in court again at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 15, for a description of the charges against him. Vance said that over the weekend it had been determined that there was probable cause for the charge of first-degree murder.

The victim, a 24-year-old female, was identified in the arrest affidavit as Elizabeth “Libby” Santaguida, 24. Her sister, Rebecca, found her in the family home late on April 8, where the brother also was living, according to police.

About 11 p.m. Thursday, after deputies were called to the home, they entered through the basement door and found the victim lying on her back at the bottom of a spiral staircase.

The mother, Helan Story, was kneeling next to her. The deputy observed that Elizabeth had what appeared to be a “ligature mark” around her neck, the affidavit says. The cause of death has not been announced.

Someone had called police with a report of a female not breathing at the family home about 11 p.m. April. 8. Everyone in the family was at home except for the father, Richard Santaguida. All of the family members reportedly were interviewed. The house was observed to be in disarray, with clutter everywhere.

Police said Richard Santaguida told them later he is a doctor who evaluates patients for medical marijuana. He said that Elizabeth and he worked in the same office, and that she failed to show up to work at 4 p.m. that day. He also told police they both had licenses to use medical marijuana.

In court on Monday, public defender Rob Heineman made a motion asking that police be asked to protect all notes of interviews with people involved. The case is to be transferred from county court to District Court Division 8 Judge Margie Enquist, said Pam Russell, district attorney’s spokeswoman.

Deputy district attorneys Natalie Judson and Don Nottingham appeared on behalf of the Jefferson County DA’s office. Judson told the judge there wasn’t anything to discuss in court at that time.

Contact Vicky Gits at 303-350-1042 or vicky@evergreenco.com.