ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The 65-year-old woman whose body was dumped on the mesa and set on fire was a mail carrier who lived in Albuquerque, where police believe she was murdered.

Marilyn Gandert made quite the impression after working 31 years for the Albuquerque Post Office.

“Anytime you were new to the station she was the first one to approach you,” Cecilia Ramirez said. “She was quite the jokester.”

Ramirez is one of the people Gandert got close with at work. She may have been 65 years old, but Ramirez says Gandert loved her job and the people along her route.

“She was there all the time, carrying her route and coming back,” Ramirez said.

When Gandert missed work three days in a row last week, Ramirez said she and other coworkers got worried because it wasn’t like her to not come into work. They visited her home in northwest Albuquerque, but she wasn’t there. They also called police to conduct a “welfare check” on Gandert.

Neighbors told KRQE News 13 that the last time they saw Gandert was Friday morning as she was taking out the trash. A family member is said to have filed a missing person report that day.

Then on Saturday, January 27, a burned body turned up on the mesa west of Rio Rancho. Sandoval County Sheriff’s deputies say ATV riders found the body.

On Wednesday, Albuquerque Police identified the body as Gandert’s.

Ramirez said she can’t imagine who would do something like this to her.

“She’s someone that you can’t even be mad at,” Ramirez said. “That’s how it is. She’s just caring all around so to have bad blood, no.”

“It just makes you mind think… how could people be so cruel out here,” said Ramirez.

The Albuquerque Police Department is now investigating Gandert’s death, which they believe to be a murder.

“We believe it probably started in Albuquerque somewhere, then, the body ended up in Sandoval County,” said Albuquerque Police Officer Simon Drobik.

As of now, APD is still looking for Gandert’s killer and a motive for the murder. They haven’t released any information about any potential suspects.

Online court records show Gandert does not have any criminal history. Police did say they are executing search warrants around Albuquerque looking for evidence.

Vigil Honors Gandert

About 50 people gather in front of Gandert’s northwest Albuquerque home Friday night to pay their respects in a candlelight vigil.

Gandert’s USPS co-workers, customers and neighbors were among the crowd sharing stories about her.

A former coworker of Gandert’s, Angel Martinez described her as a dedicated mail carrier.

“You lost a great carrier, somebody who dedicated themselves to their customers and was always there to provide great customers service,” said Martinez.

A fellow mail carrier, Dereld Padilla remembers Gandert’s caring attitude.

“She was so gentle when we had that cricket infestation and she was … she was trying to gather up the crickets on the dock so that they wouldn’t get hurt or stepped on by the carriers, you know?” said Padilla.

Coworkers say Gandert was a widow who had a son who died years ago. Neighbors say despite the tragedy she experienced in her life, Gandert carried on.

“If she leaves anything with us, it’s something that, you know, put on your boots, get up and go do it,” said a former coworker.

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