The Tragic Life and Unsolved Death of Lorraine Pacheco

By Carolyn Berardino

Lorraine Pacheco. Photo courtesy of Denver Police Department.

On May 14, 1997, neighbors in Denver, Colorado found smoke coming from the apartment of Lorriane Pacheco, known as “Tiny” by her friends and family. According to Denver Police, the neighbors were able to locate her inside her burning apartment and pull her outside, but it was too late. Investigators determined that she had been murdered, prior to her neighbors’ arrival.

She had been raped, strangled, and her apartment set on fire, according to the Denver Post. There was no forced entry, indicating Lorraine may have known her attacker. Her small safe, containing only $40, had been opened.

It was a brutal end to a life full of tragedy, as Lorriane had overcome so much in her 43 years. When Lorraine was just 16, her mother, Dora Pineda, was killed when she was struck by a car. Dora had been at a New Year’s Eve party that night in 1970, when she was separated from her friends. She had been running across a highway with two men chasing her, when she was hit by the car and thrown 77 feet.

Dora had been separated from Lorraine’s father, Alex Pineda, but they were planning on reuniting when she died. Alex moved back in to raise Lorraine and her siblings. Just two years later, Lorraine was shot in the head by a boyfriend. She was in a coma for several days, and the shooting left her blinded.

A couple of years later, Lorraine got married. The couple had a daughter, but she died at only 2 days old.

Lorriane separated from her husband and moved in with her sisters, while she attended school to learn how to live independently. She then moved into her own apartment.

In 1988, one of her sisters, Karen Lynn Nelson, was murdered at age 29.

Brain injuries caused by the shooting affected Lorraine’s memory, and she didn’t remember much of the tragedies in her life, like her sister’s murder. Lorraine liked to draw and play the bongos, and she loved having company visit. This may have lead her to open the door to the person who would be the attacker that ended her life.

If you have information, please call the Denver Police
Department at (720) 913-2000 or the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at (720) 913-STOP (7867). Callers may remain anonymous and receive a reward up to $2,000.

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