FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith is calling for changes after the death of Heather “Helena” Hoffmann.

Hoffmann’s body was found in Sheldon Lake inside City Park following her shift at McDonald’s. Jeffrey Etheridge, 28, a transient, has been arrested in connection to the murder. Sexual assault charges are also pending.

Heather Helena Hoffmann (credit: Fort Collins Police Services)

Etheridge appeared in court by video on Thursday. He is a registered transient and sex offender in Colorado.

In a Facebook post early Friday morning, Sheriff Smith called on “the community to band together and demand changes in public policy that will protect law abiding citizens from transient criminals like the one accused of raping and murdering Helena.”

The Sheriff says that nearly “one in three inmates in the [Larimer County] jail are self identified as either homeless, transient or living in a local shelter. This is up from one in eight in 2011.”

(credit: CBS)

“I was a transient once myself and not every one of them is a bad person,” said Zach Denton, who shares a daughter with Hoffmann. “I don’t look at him as a transient; he’s a killer, that’s what he is.”

CBS4’s Andrea Flores interviews Zach Denton (credit: CBS)

Smith, though, wants the city council to “take action to protect the community and stop surrendering to the transient advocates who show up, like clockwork, every time the local police attempt to crack down on the dangerous transients flooding our communities.”

Etheridge is due back in court next week.

Jeffrey Etheridge (credit: CBS)


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