Unsolved Boulder crimes (2007)
Boulder County Unsolved Homicides

Boulder writer and historian and Camera columnist Silvia Pettem has compiled fact sheets on Boulder County cold cases for the Families of Homicide Victims and Missing Persons.

Howard Morton, the organization's director, shared that information with the Daily Camera.

Harold Nicholson, 18, was found dead May 23, 1970, beaten and stuffed into the trunk of a car he had bought the day before. It was parked three feet inside the Boulder County border near 134th Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard in Broomfield.

He had been married for five weeks and was reported missing when he failed to pick up his wife.

Gerald Cordner, 28, was shot in the back of the head, execution-style, on May 23, 1978, in what police called a drug-related robbery. Cordner was labeled a "large dealer" in cocaine with nationwide connections.

He was found two days later, slumped over a desk in the 95th Street farmhouse where he lived and apparently was trying some drugs when he died. Local drug users and dealers were reluctant to talk to police.

Sid Wells, 22, a University of Colorado journalism student from Longmont, was found shot to death Aug. 1, 1983, in an apartment his mother owned. The shotgun slaying also received worldwide exposure because he had been dating Robert Redford's daughter, Shauna, also a CU student.

The apartment's resident Thayne Smika, then 24, was arrested, then freed after the District Attorney's Office determined the evidence was not strong enough to prosecute.

Boulder police reopened the case in 1997, but the district attorney ruled police still didn't have sufficient evidence to arrest Smika, who has since vanished.

Margaret Hillman, 14, was reported missing in September 1983 after a party at Heil Ranch, north of Lefthand Canyon, where she lived with her family.

She had left the barn party about a mile from her home and told her parents she was going to ride home with another relative. It was determined she had not gone with any specific person, and her parents reported the next morning that she had not come home. Police thought she might have decided to walk home.

After an extensive search of the 5,000-acre ranch, officials found no trace of her. Almost a year later, in July 1984, her body was found in a ravine less than a mile from where she was last seen.

David Eugene Cox, 55, was found bludgeoned to death Jan. 4, 1994, in his mobile home at Boulder Meadows in North Boulder. He was last seen alive on New Year's Eve 1993.

An autopsy showed he died of massive head injuries caused by a blunt object, which police said was a cast-iron teakettle.

Cox had worked at Neodata and also had a business selling Indian jewelry and kachina dolls. He was divorced with no children and was survived by a brother.

JonBenet Ramsey, 6, was found dead Dec. 26, 1996, in the basement of her family's Boulder home on 15th Street. The slaying has attracted worldwide attention.

In August, a media circus descended on Boulder after John Mark Karr was arrested in connection with the decade-old case. He was exonerated after his DNA didn't match crime-scene evidence.

Susannah Chase, 23, a senior at the University of Colorado, died Dec. 22, 1997, a day after she was brutally beaten a block from her Whittier neighborhood home at 18th and Spruce streets.

Forensic testing five years later unearthed two new pieces of evidence: a fingerprint and a DNA sample pulled from a bloody bat found near the crime scene. But no one has been arrested in the case.

Frank Santos, 37, was fatally shot at 10:18 p.m. July 9, 2004, as he drove toward Boulder on U.S. 36 west of McCaslin Boulevard. A bullet fired through the driver's side window of his silver 1994 Chevrolet Cavalier hit him in the head.

Police looked for the driver of a large, dark SUV that was seen on the highway about the time of his death.

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