BUFFALO -- A Montrose man is charged with 2nd-degree murder in the death of a man whose body was found along a gravel road in Meeker County. Thirty-seven-year-old Alejandro Vega Jr. is charged in the beating and strangling death of 34-year-old Justin Warnke of Buffalo.

Warnke's body was found in a t-shirt, shorts and socks along a dead-end road on the morning of December 29th. Investigators say the victim had blunt force trauma on his head and chest.

An autopsy determined Warnke was beaten and strangled to death.

According to the criminal complaint, Vega picked up Warnke from a hotel in Monticello in the early morning hours of December 28th and went back to Vega's Montrose apartment.

Surveillance video showed Vega return to the hotel to try to retrieve Warnke's belongings around 11:30 a.m. but is turned away by hotel staff. Surveillance video from Vega's apartment complex shows him go to his garage where he gets some rope and an appliance cart.

Hours later Vega is then seen wheeling what appears to be a body tied to the cart and wrapped in a blanket and plastic bags. He then allegedly drives out of the parking lot with the body hanging out of the back of the trunk around 1:15 a.m.  Warnke's body was discovered hours later.

Vega was arrested on New Year's Day and told investigators he was with Warnke and they were doing drugs at his apartment. Vega said he then left for a time and when he returned Warnke was bleeding and unresponsive. Vega couldn't explain why he didn't call police at that time. Vega said he knew he couldn't have a dead body in his apartment so he wrapped it up in a blanket, put garbage bags over Warnke's head because of the blood, tied him to a cart and dumped the body.

Vega has a bail hearing on January 21st.

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