It's distressingly rare for cold cases to heat up decades after they were committed -- and when they do, as with the death of Jacqueline Gallegos, whose killer was brought to justice twenty years after her passing, the reason is often improvements in DNA technology.
Officials in Summit County are taking a more old-school approach to finding the person or persons responsible for taking the lives of Annette Schnee and Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer in 1982. They've scheduled meetings, including one taking place tonight, and are seeking the public's help via a website loaded with photos and information about two of Colorado's most famous, and most tragic, unsolved homicides. Continue for images, video and more.
See also: Andre Jackson Found Guilty in Brutal Cold Case Rape and Murder, published August 18, 2014
The details of the deaths, as documented by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, are chillingly similar. The body of Schnee, 21, wasn't discovered until July 1982, but she disappeared on January 6 -- the same day thirty-year-old Oberholtzer was last seen.
Oberholtzer's body was found the next day on the summit of Hoosier Pass, near Breckenridge. Likewise, Schnee's remains were finally spotted in a similarly remote location south of town.
Both had been hitchhiking. Both were shot to death. And no one has ever been arrested for either of their slayings.
Just over 33 years later, the Summit County Sheriff's Office is making a renewed effort to change that equation. The SCSO held a meeting about the cases in Fairplay last night, and another one is slated for tonight at the Frisco Community and Senior Center's Fremont room. The event gets underway at 6 p.m. tonight.
Those who can't make it to Frisco are encouraged to check out RockyMountainColdCase.com, which features photos and detailed accounts of what happened to Schnee and Oberholtzer that we're also sharing below.
Here's the material about Oberholtzer:
Bobbie Jo's last known stop in Breckenridge, Colorado was at approximately 7:50 PM on Wednesday, January 6, 1982, leaving the Village Pub. Bobbie worked in an office in the same building and was celebrating a promotion. She was then seen alone near the Minit Mart, about 100 yards from the Pub entrance, hitchhiking southbound out of town.
Bobbie's body was found at approximately 3:00 PM the following day, Thursday, January 7, 1982 near the summit of Hoosier Pass, approximately 10 miles south of Breckenridge. Bobbie was found face up 300 feet south of the parking lot at the top of the pass and 20 feet off the southbound lane of Highway 9, down a snow embankment. The pass was covered in deep snow which had been plowed along the sides of Highway 9. It was a very cold night, about 20 below, and it may have been snowing.
Death resulted from a gunshot wound to the chest, with a second grazing wound to the right breast, and the shooting appeared to have occurred at the location where the body was found. Evidence indicated that Bobbie was shot at close range of 1 to 2 feet.
Evidence at the scene indicated that Bobbie may have gotten out of the suspect's vehicle at the top of the pass. Her key ring, with a metal hook defensive weapon made for her by her husband, was found in the parking lot at the summit. Bobbie may have run downhill along the road approximately 300 feet and was possibly again confronted by the assailant(s). She then seems to have gone over the snow embankment toward a stand of trees, stopping short of the trees, and retracing her tracks a short distance. She fell onto her back and slid down the snow a short distance before coming to rest where she died.
The weapon used was a .38/.357 handgun using a Remington/Peters copper jacketed hollow point bullet. The weapon has NOT been recovered.
A pair of 18" plastic tie-wraps were found on one wrist, suggesting that someone had attempted to bind Bobbie Jo.
Also on January 7, items from her backpack/purse were located approximately 20 miles from the crime scene along the south/east side of US Highway 285 north and east of Fairplay toward Denver. Three significant items were recovered together approximately 30 feet off the highway lying on top of the snow in an open field. These 3 items consisted of the victim's backpack and some of its contents, her bloodstained wool glove, and a bloodstained tissue.
Wallet contents were scattered along the same side of US 285 with the driver's license found north of the backpack at the Hamilton ranch.
DNA testing has concluded that the source of the blood on both the glove and the tissue is from the same unknown male donor.
Continue for details and photos about the investigation into Annette Schnee's death, plus a video and flier for tonight's event.
Here's information about the Annette Schnee investigation from RockyMountainColdCase.com:
Annette's last known stop in Breckenridge, Colorado was at approximately 4:45 PM on Wednesday, January 6, 1982, leaving a pharmacy called The Drug Store where she had filled a prescription. She was seen talking with an unidentified woman, and was heard reminding the woman to buy cigarettes. The unknown woman was described by witnesses as a white female, approximately 5' 4" tall, slender build, and looked as though she had been camping out for a few days. The woman smoked Marlboro cigarettes. The prescription was Annette's only purchase at that store.A sketch of the unidentified woman with whom Schnee was seen talking before her disappearance.
Annette was scheduled to be at work at 8:00 PM that night at the Flip Side bar back in Breckenridge. Her uniform was at her home and was never picked up. She was described as very reliable and it's thought she may have been headed home to get ready for work when she disappeared.
Annette's body was found 6 months later, on July 3, 1982, face down in Sacramento Creek, approximately 20 miles south of Breckenridge and 10 miles south of the Hoosier Pass summit. Annette's home was approximately 4 miles north of the summit. The location where the body was found was remote - about 3 miles west of Colorado Highway 9.
Sacramento Creek is a very isolated mountain valley area. The temperatures were very cold, approximately 20 below, and it may have been snowing in the area on the night Annette disappeared. The cold air and water helped preserve the body.
The fatal gunshot wound to the back was a through and through, with no bullet left in the body. The bullet has not been found. It is unknown whether other shots were fired and missed. The weapon used was possibly a .38/.357/9mm handgun.
Annette's body was fully clothed, but the clothing was in disarray.
Annette was found with both shoes on, but wearing one orange bootie sock on her left foot and one long striped sock on her right foot. The second long striped sock was found in the pocket of her blue hooded sweatshirt. The second orange bootie had been found, but unidentified, 6 months earlier, at the Oberholtzer crime scene near the summit of Hoosier Pass.
Items from Annette's backpack were located between Breckenridge, where both victims were last seen, and the Oberholtzer crime scene at the top of Hoosier Pass.
Among the items found in Annette's backpack was a photograph of a man who has never been identified.
Can you identify this man?
If you have any information about these cases, you're encouraged to contact Eagle County Crime Stoppers at 970-328-7007 or 1-800-972-TIPS. A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered.
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Look below to see a flier about tonight's event in Frisco, followed by a CBS4 report on the new effort.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.