Yavapai County Sheriff's Office

Serving Since 1864

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Prescott Woman Murdered -- Suspect In- Custody 


Latest information --


Yesterday’s effort to locate Sandra involved a large number of YCSO personnel and included search and rescue volunteers from the Yavapai County Search and Rescue Team (YCSRT) and Jeep Posse. Based on evidence gathered by detectives over the last few days, search teams focused on several large land areas north west of the victim’s home. The suspect continued to deny any knowledge of her whereabouts. As a result, ground search efforts and flyovers by the Rescue 1 helicopter in these target areas was based solely on evidence and investigative work by YCSO detectives. 


Yesterday, search teams were deployed to a remote section of land set back off Fair Oaks Road, several miles west of Williamson Valley Road, Prescott. During a grid search of the area, a YCSRT member of the Search Dog Unit noticed apparent man made tool marks in the sandy soil of a dry riverbed and deployed his cadaver trained detection  K9 over the site. The dog alerted and detectives were notified. After examining the soil, detectives began slowly digging until Sandra’s body was discovered around noon – see attached photo - labeled burial site. 


The area around the site was secured and evidence technicians were called in to assist with the dig. As part of the forensic work, any soil/sand around her body was carefully removed and sifted for evidence by detectives. The work continued throughout the afternoon until her body could be removed and released to the Medical Examiner for the pending autopsy. Cause of death awaits the Medical Examiner report.


Along with the YCSO Evidence Team, members of the DPS Crime Lab also arrived to assist with the investigation and complied with our request to prioritize the evidence analysis in this case. YCSO also thanks the involvement of County Attorney Investigators who assisted throughout the case work.


While on site, Sheriff Mascher commended the efforts of his staff and dedicated volunteers – see attached photo (Sheriff in blue jeans and blue shirt facing searchers).  As stated yesterday, YCSO could not have completed this large search effort in such a compressed timeframe without our search teams. 


Detectives are not releasing further investigation details as they continue to document the work done so far and necessary follow-up for pending County Attorney review.


Suspect David Pagniano remains in-custody on a 2 million dollar bond.


YCSO thanks all who called regarding this case and those with concern for Sandra’s children. They are in good care. We again express our condolences to Sandra’s family and friends on her tragic death.


Issued May 26, 2017 

Around noon today, the body of Sandra Pagniano was discovered buried in a remote area about 10 miles northwest of her home on N Yaqui Drive, outside of Prescott. The effort to locate her has been non-stop since her reported disappearance and involved deputies, a full contingent of detectives and some incredible search and rescue volunteers. Without the help of these selfless volunteers, the large search area would have been impossible to cover in such a short time frame. Sheriff Mascher was on scene to personally thank everyone involved for their dedication to see this case& ...READ MORE

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