After nearly four decades, a 70-year-old Colorado man has been arrested for the brutal murder of two women who were likely hitchhiking when they went missing.
Alan Lee Phillips has been arrested on several counts, including kidnapping and murder, for the 1982 deaths of Annette Schnee, 21, and Barbara “Bobbi Jo” Oberholtzer, 29, the Sheriff’s Department said on Wednesday. of Park County. Authorities say the women, who did not know each other, worked in Breckenridge, Colorado. They disappeared on January 6, 1982 after having hitchhiked.
Oberholtzer was found less than a day after her disappearance, but it took authorities six months to locate Schnee. An orange sock was found near the crime scenes of the two women, according to local media.
“You know, I thought there would be no fence,” Schnee’s mother Eileen Franklin said in Denver7 on Wednesday. “I thought I might have left before this case closed. So it’s really – I’m ready to go when it’s my turn now.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Park County Sheriff Tom McGraw said their big break in the case came after forensic genetic genealogy investigators were able to connect Phillips to the crime scenes. Phillips’ DNA sample was located in a genealogy database and investigators took him into custody during a traffic stop. He lived in Clear Creek County, working as a part-time mechanic.
“I can’t begin to understand the pain and suffering their families have faced for nearly four decades,” McGraw said. “Each year that has passed, they have remained vigilant in their unwavering commitment to seek justice for Bobbi Jo and Annette. I am here to tell them that their path to justice has a much clearer path. “
Authorities say Oberholtzer was last seen at 7.50 p.m. on the day he went missing, leaving a local pub after having a drink with colleagues. The next afternoon, she was found lying on her back in a snowbank near the summit of Hoosier Pass, over 11,000 feet above sea level.
The 29-year-old was shot in the chest, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation said. “The shooting took place outside in a rural, remote, mountain area next to Colorado Highway 9. It was reportedly dark, possibly snowy, and very cold (-20 degrees F),” he said. added the office.
Investigators found his backpack and purse about 20 miles from the crime scene along US 285. Near Oberholtzer’s body, authorities found his keychain with a hook and an orange sock, according to Denver7. The murder weapon, a .38 / .357 handgun using a Remington / Peters copper-sheathed hollow point bullet, has never been found.
Six months later, a young boy found Schnee near Fairplay, about 30 minutes from where she was last seen leaving a store in Park County. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation said she was found face down in a small stream and was likely shot outside in a “remote area of the mountain valley where there would be no witnesses. “.
“The area where Schnee was found, you almost should have known was there,” Jim Hardtke, an agent with the bureau, said in Denver7 last year. “You would have to be a local in a way.”
While she was found fully dressed, her clothes were a mess, authorities said. According to Hardtke, Schnee also wore an orange sock on his left foot. Authorities never recovered a weapon but concluded that she died from a gunshot wound to her back.
Items from his backpack were also found near Breckenridge, including a photograph of a man who has never been identified.
During Wednesday’s press conference, McGraw read statements from several of the victims’ relatives, including Oberholtzer’s widower Jeff.
“I pray that the arrest of Alan Phillips for the murder of my wife Bobbi Jo and Annette Schnee, after all these decades, will finally bring an end and peace to this horrible nightmare for myself and all lives. that he was horribly affected by his actions, ”Oberholtzer’s statement read. “I cannot thank enough all those who have never given up on the search for the truth.”
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