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Grand Lake, CO sits nestled next to the largest and deepest lake in Colorado. It's full of rich log cabin architecture and charming shops and restaurants, but it has a surprisingly dark past. One of the more amazing houses in the area is nearly 150 years old and is called The Spider House, due to the intricate latticework of wood that decorate this two story log home. This home was built by Warren Greggs for his wife Mary and large family, but it would not bring them happiness.
In 1992, Grand Junction was rocked with three horrifying explosions. Pipe bombs were being planted in random places around the city and targeting no one in particular. Anyone could be the next victim by simply getting into their car or walking in the wrong place. The mystery seemed to life as investigators and ATF agents honed in on one suspect, a loner and electronics enthusiast named James Genrich. James had an interesting story of his own and also had tools in his home that investigators claimed made the bombs. But did they? I review some of the issues with older forensics technique in this no-so-closed case.
On August 27, 1958, 11 year old Lester Gordon Brown Jr headed alone to the circus that was in town and being exhibited at the Denver Coliseum. Lester was particularly interested in elephants and he caught the eye of a 27 year old animal trainer named Walter J Hammil. Hammil offered him a ride on an elephant after hours and this would be the last time anyone saw Lester alive. 
The Smaldone Family

The Smaldone Family


This episode is  a continuation of the earlier historical episode about the murder of Joe Roma. Hear about the Smaldone family, leaders of the Denver, CO mob for many decades. The two brothers Clyde and Eugene "Checkers" were undisputed family leaders and were at the front of many bizarre and brazen criminal acts over the years and used their money for a lot of good in the community and a lot of mischief. 
Bitter rivalry between the mafia controlled North and South territories of Colorado came to a breaking point in the deadliest 15 years of mafia crime in Colorado's history. The era between 1919 and 1933 was Prohibition Era and bootlegging took off, controlled by Colorado's warring mafia gangs. Joe Roma, aka "Little Caesar" the pint sized Boss, found himself at the center of it and in control of a bootlegging operation that served out of his North Denver grocery stores and home. That is, until he was murdered in his Highland Neighborhood bungalow. A new family then took over, the Smaldone family, and the topic of my next episode. 
On December 15, 1917, in a rural farmhouse around 4 miles from Olathe, Colorado, a young boy's body was boiled in lye to make a human soap. His father, too, would supposedly suffer the same fate. The woman at the center of the murders is Mrs. Mary Bush, a spiteful woman who accused her grandson, the boy in the soap kettle, of stealing $1.35 from her pocketbook. 
On December 21, 1919, a quiet farm house in Weld County, Colorado was much quieter than usual. A family member discovered the entire family of 6 shot to death within the home, including 4 children under the age of 10. An investigation would reveal bad blood between the family patriarch Adam Schenk and Alex Miller, the farm hand who was known to be a violent drunk. The root of the problem would turn out to be the root of many people's problems; money. 
In 2004, ER doctors were stumped. Two people had now been admitted to the ER with severe complications from treatments delivered by a naturopathic "doctor" named Brian O'Connell. One of the patients had died. When they look into Brian O'Connell's past, they discover he has a long history of taking substantial amounts of money for treatments he claimed would cure cancer. One of his final victims was 19 year old Sean Flanagan and his case was what sent O'Connell to trial for manslaughter. 
The Slide-Rock Bolter

The Slide-Rock Bolter


In this episode I change gears to talk about a deadly and fearsome mythological creature unique to Colorado, the Slide Rock Bolter. Miners and mountain folk, forever enraged by tourists romping into their towns, conceived this "cryptid" that swings down from high cliffs to gobble up unknowing tourists who wonder into the path of its gaping maw. 
On September 17, 1991, thirteen year old Heather Dawn Church disappeared with few clues from her home in the distanced and quiet neighborhood of Black Forest near Colorado Springs. For years her case sat in mystery, as if she simply stepped out of the front door and vanished. A dedicated fingerprint expert would open up pandora's box with a fresh look at the only clue found at the scene and investigators would uncover a serial killer lurking under our noses. 
34 year old Paige Birgfeld went missing on Thursday, June 28, 2007. She left behind three children, a large home and several tumultuous relationships. Amongst Paige's scattered possessions along a highway were clues to a secret life that Paige lived to pay the bills. Her burned out car, her violent previous marriage, it all led to many suspects in a case with many twists and turns. 
Brawls, riots, shootings and other drunken buffoonery are only a small part of this once large and bustling town of the Rocky Mountains. Victor, CO once boasted over 15 saloons and theaters and was home to around 20,000 people in its prime. The town and surrounding mountains are still dotted with hundreds of old mines, some of which you can see and explore. A rich history keep this town moving into the future and new owners and renovators plan on making it a creepy destination for true crime and victorian horror lovers.
In 1987, Tom Young went missing after closing down his bookstore in Silver Plume, Colorado and walking off into the wilderness with his dog. Months later, in 1988, Keith Reinhard would rent the same shop space for his antique store and become obsessed with the mystery of what happened to Tom Young. Then one day Reinhard closed his shop and walked off into the mountains and was never seen again. What happened to Keith and Tom, and what mysteries, if any, does Silver Plume hide?
The 1920's saw the takeover of Colorado by the KKK, from politics to local businesses, they had their stranglehold in the state. Colorado was also brought into the 20th Century by a barbaric lynching of a 16 year old boy named Preston Porter Jr. Learn about the brief history of the KKK in Colorado, including the infiltration of them in the 1970's by Ron Stallworth, the first black investigator for the Colorado Springs Police Department.
On October 29, 1996, Kimberly Greene Medina disappeared without a trace. Her husband didn't report her missing until two days later and claimed she went missing while walking to a local convenience store to buy cigarettes. The truly realities of what Michael Medina was capable of wouldn't be uncovered until nearly a decade later in 2005. This is a short but terrifying story. 
On January 23, 1920, shots could be heard ringing out from the Waldorf Hotel in Denver, Colorado. When police and journalists arrived they found a peculiar scene and uncovered a love triangle that involved a sick man, a woman, and an estranged husband who had been stalking his wife. Curiously, not many details remained on record about this case but a detective claimed for many years that there was more to it than the public saw. 
On December 14, 1993, a man hid inside a men's bathroom inside a Chuck E. Cheese in Aurora, CO and came out after closing duties began. He shot everyone working in the restaurant and made off with around $1500, some keychains and some game tokens. 4 employees were killed and one survived the shooting and identified Nathan Dunlap, a former employee, as the perpetrator. Nathan's case would come to be an example of how not to handle a death penalty case and details about Nathan's motives or mental state wouldn't be known until years later. The final decision as to his fate wouldn't come until March of 2020 but his victims and their families will never get their life or loved ones back.
On a cold December morning in Denver, CO, 1922, a Buick touring car pulled up behind an armored car in front of the Denver Mint. Four gunmen emerged from the Buick and demanded the money that was being loaded into the armored car. One of the Mint guards, a veteran of the police force, was killed during the ensuing shootout. The case wouldn't be "solved" until nearly 15 years later and the details of it sound closer to a gangster movie than a real life crime.
On October 19, 1995 in Greeley, CO, Tina Sandoval left work to have a reluctant meeting with her estranged husband, John Sandoval, and retrieve money for an IRS debt they incurred while together. Tina was never heard from again. It would take over two decades for detectives to finally piece together the entire twisted and disgusting lifestyle of John Sandoval and finally extract from him what really happened to Tina. 
In this special bonus episode I'll discuss a dark time in Denver's history that isn't well known. All across America in the last decades of the 19th Century, racial tensions flared due to labor disputes and immigration. Everyone wanted a piece of the booming Denver economy and this caused a clash that culminated in the Halloween Day Chinese Race Riots in Denver's Hop Alley in 1880. The riots resulted in one horrible murder of a laundry worker named Look Young and included many more rapes, beatings and possibly even unrecorded murders. 
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