AURORA (CBS4) – Five months after the reported disappearance of Kenia Monge, family members are trying to stay strong now that they know what happened to her.
Authorities say Monge’s body was found this week in a shallow grave near Interstate 76 in Weld County. Police say Travis Forbes, now the prime suspect in her murder, led them to the body.
Monge’s family told CBS4 they went to the Denver police station late Thursday afternoon and got the difficult news that the body was positively identified as Monge.
“There nothing you can do to prepare yourself for this,” said Tony Lee, Monge’s stepfather. “I had 5 months and 8 days to do so. It didn’t work.”
Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey says he has not made a decision on whether or not he’ll pursue the death penalty against Forbes in the case. Forbes faces first degree murder charges.
Lee says his family has always felt that Forbes was the suspect.
“Being in his schedule all this time is what pissed me off so bad all this time, but he still did it — manned up and gave us this closure, but forgiveness is something I’ll work on another day,” Lee said.
A memorial that was set up in the memory of Monge is now growing outside the front window of the house where Monge lived in Aurora. Her missing person poster is still hanging inside one of the windows.
“Today, finally – I got the truth,” said Maria Lee, Monge’s mother.Lee said they met with Forbes in early April, just days after her disappearance. Forbes told the worried family that he had picked Monge up from a LoDo nightclub and then dropped her off at a gas station.
“When I shook his hand, how he felt … shaking … I knew then I was shaking the hand of the last person who saw Kenia alive.”
The family will be making funeral plans for Monge on Friday. A fund to pay for funeral cost was set up under Monge’s name by 1st Bank.
Lee said the family also wants the murder to serve as a lesson that will help others.
“That one message is this, we want to make young women aware those dangers are still out there. If women aren’t being careful there’s going to be another Kenia,” Lee said.
They say they are planning to work with families who have missing children, because — as they learned — there is no manual on how to process the pain.
“We’ve got to take this girl home, put her to rest,” Lee said.
Forbes will make his first Denver court appearance later this month.