Missing Torrington Woman Arrested in Denver

Azia Saldana remains incarcerated on drug charges

Azia Saldana, 33, who has been missing for nearly three months, was located safely after being arrested on drug charges in Denver on Nov. 16. (Courtesy photo from Lisa Saldana)

By Jennifer Kocher

Special to the Wyoming Truth

Azia Saldana — the Torrington mother of four who has been missing for nearly three months —has been found.

Saldana, 33, was arrested in Denver on Nov. 16 for felony possession and distribution of fentanyl, as well as an additional warrant for drug offenses  in Wyoming dating back to May 2022, according to online records from the Denver Sheriff Department. Saldana was additionally charged with three misdemeanor counts for careless driving, failing to report the accident and driving without insurance.

Saldana is in custody at the Denver Downtown Detention Center, where she is being held on a $5,000 bond.

Under Colorado law, the punishment for felony drug possession of four to 50 grams of fentanyl (statute 18-18-405) ranges from six months to up to a year in prison and/or a fine of $1,000 to $100,000.

Saldana was reported missing to the Torrington Police Department after she left her parents’ home in Wyoming on Aug. 26 to play video poker machines at a local truck stop and never returned.

Her mother, Lisa Saldana, said it wasn’t unusual for Azia, who struggles with addiction, to disappear for one or two weeks. But this time was different because she hadn’t contacted her family or friends.

Less than two weeks ago, Saldana broke her silence with a mysterious call to Lisa and texts to the Torrington Police and Stacy Koester, a volunteer private investigator with Road Warriors for the Missing. 

In early November, Saldana called her mother and texted police to say she was fine and that she didn’t want help from law enforcement. Torrington police declared Saldana was no longer considered missing, but Matt Johnson, chief of police, said the department was concerned about her safety and were working with federal and Colorado state law enforcement to locate her.

Saldana’s subsequent calls and texts to Lisa and Koester on Nov. 9 further deepened their concern. At one point, Saldana asked Koester for a ride home from Colorado, then failed to show up at the Cheyenne truck stop at the appointed time. Since that day, there had been no further communication from Saldana up until her arrest.

On Friday, Lisa received what she described as a “weird text” regarding Saldana from a Denver-based nonprofit that helps homeless and low-income people with legal issues, according to Koester. When Lisa called the phone number for more information, the person who answered had no information about Saldana or why Lisa had received the message.

Lisa then received a similar text on Saturday from a Denver attorney with knowledge of Saldana’s arrest, and he directed Koester and Lisa to the relevant court documents, Koester said.

Saldana called her mother from jail on Sunday morning, Lisa told the Wyoming Truth Monday. Saldana told her that she had been arrested and is extremely sick, but will call again when she’s feeling better.

Lisa said Saldana has not yet shared any details of her life during the past three months, only that it’s been “extremely horrible.”

Lisa does not mince words when it comes to Azia’s drug addiction. “Yes, she’s an addict, but still a very beautiful person who has every right to be found,” she said. “Please don’t judge her because we don’t know what she’s been through, and until you have been where we all are, you will never truly understand.”

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