He said Mercedes “looked good”.Then he was attacked and shot in Fort Worth, police say

New York Times

A man rescued at the Colorado Pass is accused of murder in 1982

On the night of January 1982, Alan Lee Phillips, stuck in a snowdrift on a dangerous mountain pass in central Colorado, was found trembling with a pickup. After Phillips, then 30 years old, used his headlights to flash the SOS Morse code, rescue workers followed him and caught the attention of the passengers on the plane flying overhead. When asked what he was thinking when he was on such a dangerous road in sub-zero temperatures, police said Phillips looked vague and returned from the bar. “You can see how lonely it really is,” Phillips later said, according to a newspaper article at the time. “I thought I’d walk about 200 yards to a nearby ski resort and thought,’No way.’ It was too cold.” Sign up for the morning newsletter from the New York Times. Almost 40 years later, police say he knows where Phillips actually came from that night and what took him on a dangerous route. Officials say he shot just two young women and killed them near the mountain town of Brickenridge. “It was his own stupidity to take him there because he couldn’t pass during the winter,” Sgt said. Wendy Kipple from the Park County Sheriff’s Office. “I don’t know what he was thinking, except he was trying to escape the crime he had just committed.” Phillips, now 70, said in February after DNA evidence led to his death. He was charged with one murder, assault, and kidnapping in the murder of Annette Schnee and Barbara Joe Oberholtz. Phillips, a semi-retired mechanic living in Clear Creek County, west of Denver, has been detained in Park County Jail since his arrest. He is represented by a lawyer in the state’s public defender’s office who did not respond to requests for comment. The relationship between rescue and prosecution was reported by KUSA-TV this week. The arrest of Phillips was the result of decades of investigation by several different Colorado agencies and private detectives, where the crime captured investigators trying to resolve it. 56-year-old Kipple has been investigating the case for over 30 years. She grew up in Summit County and was a senior in high school when the crime happened. “It’s one of those cases where you can’t put it,” Kipple said. “We need to find a reason and a person.” Oberholtz, 29, was a meticulous planner. She often carried a notebook full of plans and budgets for the horse enclosure she and her husband planned to build on their property in Alma, Kipple said. She had a daughter who was 11 years old when her mother died. 21-year-old Schnee cleaned a room at the Holiday Inn in Frisco, Colorado during the day and was a bar waitress at night. According to her mother, she wanted to be a flight attendant. She was last seen around dusk on January 6th. She went to Brickenridge’s pharmacy to pick up her prescription and then hitchhiked to Blue River’s house about six miles away. She didn’t get there, police said. Later that night, Oberholtz went to the Brickenridge Bar with some friends. She was promoted from secretary to office manager and wanted to celebrate, Kipple said. Her friend told her she could ride, but Oberholtz decided to leave early and hitchhiking to Alma. Hitchhiking is common and still common around Brickenridge, a popular ski resort area that attracts wealthy tourists, but many residents struggle to keep up with their living expenses and drive their cars. I can’t afford to buy it. The next morning, Oberholtz was discovered right next to Highway 9 near the top of the Houser Pass. She was shot twice. According to police, a pair of plastic cords was tied to her wrist. Six months later, Schnee’s body was found lying prone at Sacramento Creek in Park County. She was shot from behind. Over the years, investigators investigated dozens of people in connection with the crime, but could not arrest them. Authorities said they had carefully collected evidence in both situations, including gloves and tissue found near Oberholtz’s body stained with blood. In 1998, researchers tested blood on DNA and discovered that it belonged to an unknown man. They searched the crime database for a match, but couldn’t find one. The trail got cold again. Three years ago, three years after the death of one of the investigators, his son told Mitch Morrissey, a former prosecutor and co-founder of the Colorado-based forensic company United Data Connect. I passed a packet of news articles. Genealogy. Morrissey told reporters in March that he was impressed with the picture of a woman who “lyed in the snow after being shot in the dark, died alone, basically frozen.” He said he could understand how a crime could determine an investigator to “answer the question of who would do such a horrific thing to someone.” Forensic genealogists at his company found 12,000 potential profiles in the family tree. According to Kipple, the investigators asked many of them to volunteer for DNA samples, all of whom agreed to provide them. She didn’t say how many people provided the samples, or whether Phillips provided the samples. On February 24, after monitoring Phillips for several weeks, police arrested Phillips during a traffic outage in Clear Creek County. Police said Phillips didn’t know if he knew the woman or what the possible motives were. Oberholtz’s husband, Jeff, said in a statement that the arrest “will finally bring closure and peace to this horrific nightmare in recent decades.” Schnee’s mother, Irene Franklin, said she was relieved that she had lived long enough to be arrested. “Before I left this planet, I wanted to see some closures,” Franklin, 88, said in an interview. “It’s been a rough 40 years.” This article was originally published in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company

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