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Body of missing Flagstaff woman found; husband admits to killing her as part of plea deal

Kelly Paduchowski
Flagstaff Police Department
Kelly Paduchowski

The investigation into the disappearance of Kelly Paduchowski came to an end Friday after her husband helped law enforcement find her body as part of a plea deal.

In a press conference Friday afternoon, Flagstaff police and the Coconino County Attorney’s Office announced they had located Kelly Paduchowski's body that morning. They declined to specify where her body was found, citing the active investigation.

They did confirm her husband, Daniel Paduchowski, provided the information that led to where he had disposed of his wife’s body as well as her phone, car keys and the alleged murder weapon. He agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder, evidence tampering, attempting to hide a dead body and possession of controlled substances.

Daniel Paduchowski faces a presumptive term of 16 years in prison — the maximum sentence possible for a second-degree murder conviction. He must serve the entirety of the sentence as part of the plea agreement.

He was first taken into custody Tuesday on charges of aggravated assault and dangerous drug possession/use. He’s been held in the Coconino County Detention Facility since.

The arrest came after data from Kelly Paduchowski's phone placed the device in the Schultz Creek Trail area Sunday morning. Daniel Paduchowski was observed there shortly after.

The phone returned to the couple’s Coconino Estates home shortly after noon. Kelly Paduchowski’s car was found at the Campbell Mesa trailhead and surveillance footage showed her husband at the trailhead around the same time.

Police said Paduchowski gave false testimony and tried to mislead the investigation as they searched for his missing wife.

An initial report released Friday afternoon also detailed how officers found blood on the ground outside of the Paduchowski’s home. A nearby resident also told a detective they had heard screams from the house Sunday. Investigators found clothing that appeared to be Kelly Paduchowski’s in a trash bin placed on the street for pickup along with other items like a camera in a case and a large amount of unused and unraveled twine.

According to the report, police also spotted Daniel Paduchowski’s nails had been cut “extremely short.” He also had two “nicks/healing cuts or scrapes” on the palm of his left hand and a “small nick” on the back of his right hand.

Flagstaff police noted Kelly Paduchowski’s family had been notified and asked for their privacy.

Bree Burkitt is the host of Morning Edition and a reporter for KNAU. Contact her at