Barbara Ann Blanton-Marez: Suicide After Chase By Death Suspect With 80 IQ

A police chase in Weld County yesterday ended with the death of Barbara Ann Blanton-Marez.

She reportedly took her own life as police moved in following a crash at the end of a lengthy chase.

The 39-year-old was wanted for walking away from community corrections in Mesa County — and she'd been named a person of interest in the homicide death of her former husband, fifty-year-old Lawrence Marez.

A public defender previously described Blanton-Marez as having an IQ "in the 70-80 range," and a neighbor says she was abusive to Lawrence.

Moreover, she'd previously pleaded guilty to stabbing a former boyfriend.

At the time of this last crime, she's said to have been five-months pregnant with the man's child.

The most recent episode got underway around 4 p.m. on Monday, June 1. According to the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, deputies were dispatched to a home on the 2900 block of Globe Willow Avenue in Grand Junction.

The report: a deceased male inside the home. He was subsequently identified as Lawrence Marez, with the Mesa County coroner determining that the cause of death was homicide — although the specific method has not yet been publicly shared.

The next day, the MCSO formally named Blanton-Marez, Lawrence's ex-wife, a person of interest in the case.

The agency also noted that Blanton-Marez was wanted on a felony escape warrant and a non-compliance warrant for "walking away from Community Corrections on May 29" in Mesa County, where she'd been serving a three-year sentence related to felony menacing.

According to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Blanton-Marez's conviction followed an August 6, 2013 incident during which she'd stabbed her then-boyfriend multiple times in his arms and back using a kitchen knife following a day-long argument at another Grand Junction residence.

The wounds were thought to have been inflicted as the boyfriend tried to climb out the couple's bedroom window.

Blanton-Marez was charged with second-degree assault causing serious injury, second-degree assault in the heat of passion, menacing and tampering with physical evidence, the Sentinel points out.

While representing her, a public defender is quoted as saying her low IQ made it "very difficult for her to understand basic criminal justice concepts."

Whether she was equally confused about how community corrections works is unclear. But after Lawrence's death, she apparently grasped the necessity of fleeing. The sheriff's office noted on the 2nd that she was thought to have taken off in a red 2007 Ford truck with the Colorado license plate 651ZSA.

On Wednesday, June 3, at about 10:05 a.m., the Greeley Police Department was notified that the truck had been spotted in the community — and that the suspect, Blanton-Marez, should be considered armed and dangerous.

Officers attempted to contact her on the 300 block of 35th Avenue in Greeley, but she rabbited, beginning a pursuit that went north on 35th Avenue to O Street and then east to Highway 85.

Along the way, multiple law-enforcement agencies pitched in, the Colorado State Patrol and the Weld County Sheriff's Office among them. At times, the chase exceeded speeds of 100 miles per hour, and an attempt to disable the truck using stop sticks failed.

Finally, on southbound Brighton, Blanton-Marez hit a Brighton police vehicle. Witnesses heard small arms fire in the wake of the crash

Here's one image from the scene....

...and another:

Greeley Police Chief Jerry Garner subsequently revealed that Blanton-Marez shot herself as police closed in.

Look below to see a report from KKCO in Grand Junction about the Lawrence Marez homicide, complete with comments from a neighbor who considered Blanton-Marez to have abused her former husband, followed by pieces about yesterday's chase and crash from 7News and CBS4.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts