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 was arrested for murder for the 1982 deaths of Annette Schnee, 21, and Barbara “Bobbi Jo” Oberholtzer, 29. Authorities say the two 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. Authorities found an orange sock near the two women’s crime scenes, according to local media.
Although authorities have not formally charged Phillips, he is still being held in the Park County Jail. Court records show he also faces kidnapping and assault charges with a lethal weapon with offense dates that match both cases. The Park County Mixed Court confirmed that Schnee and Oberholtzer were the victims.
It is not immediately clear what new information led investigators to Phillips in a case that has remained cold for nearly a decade. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation is expected to hold a briefing on Wednesday afternoon.
“I have no problem working through to the end,” private investigator Charlie McCormick, who has been working on the case since 1989, told Denver 7 last year. “You can’t get away from me, or I can not. I did not want. Tomorrow is another day, and you’ve got things to do, and see what could happen.
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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 man was shot in the chest and right breast, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation said. “The shooting took place outside in a rural, remote, mountainous area off Colorado Highway 9. It would have been dark, possibly snowy and very cold (-20 degrees F),” added office.
Investigators found his backpack and purse about 20 miles from the crime scene along US Highway 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 rural area of the mountain valley where there would be no witness”.
“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.
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