Beverly England: Did Affair Lead to Murder in 35-Year-Old Cold Case?
Beverly England and her two kids prior to her disappearance. Additional images below.
Family photo via The Mountain Mail
Update: Last October, we told you about the reopening of a cold case — the June 12, 1980 disappearance of Beverly England in Salida, Colorado; see our previous coverage below.
Her now-adult children, Bricia Patterson and Cayl England (who says he became a cop in part because of the mystery surrounding his mom), believe she was murdered, and theorize that the killing may have happened as the result of a rumored affair.
Now, law-enforcers say they're confident they know who took Beverly's life — although they can't make an arrest until they get back test results from the spot where her remains were found way back in 1992.
Twelve years earlier, on that fateful June day in 1980, Beverly left Bricia and Cayl (then ages five and eight) with a friend so she could meet a woman.
She never returned — and that afternoon, her car was found at nearby Alpine Park.
A decade-plus later, human bones were found on Mount Shavano.
But for reasons spelled out in a detailed Fox31 report, they weren't identified as England's remains until last year.
Shortly thereafter, the case was reopened, and both Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze and Salida police Chief Terry Clark (neither of whom held their positions when Beverly vanished) say they're confident they know who committed the crime.
They're not naming names — yet.
But they do confirm that it wasn't Beverly's husband Dale, who's been eliminated as a suspect.
Now, a possible arrest awaits the analysis of several items recovered from the site where the bones were found.
Spezze and Clark are keeping further details to themselves for now.
That leaves Cayl and Bricia to speculate.
“There's talk about an affair and that they were meeting each other to discuss it,” Cayl notes in reference to the woman with whom Beverly planned to redezvous.
“If there's any truth to this outside affair whatever, maybe she was in the way and some sick soul decided that that was the only way to get her out of the picture permanently," Bricia adds.
Look below to see the Fox31 piece. That's followed by our original report.
Original post, 6:48 a.m. October 7, 2015: Beverly England, the married mother of two young children, vanished in the Salida area on June 12, 1980.
We don't have all the answers yet. But 35 years later, law enforcement has taken an important step.
Bones found way back in 1992 have finally been confirmed as England's remains.
And now, the Salida Police Department and the Chaffee County Sheriff's Office are reopening the investigation into the case — and they suspect that she may be a homicide victim.
The most thorough account we've found about the circumstances leading up to England being reported missing can be found in a May article in The Mountain Mail, a publication based in Salida.
On June 12, the newspaper reports, Salida was preparing for an annual whitewater festival called FIBArk — and with the Arkansas River running at the highest point recorded up until that time, flooding concerns were on everyone's mind.
England, meanwhile, asked a friend to watch her kids — Bricia, five, and Cayl, eight — for a couple of hours that morning so that she could meet a woman not named in the Mail piece.
This request didn't seem unusual, but England's tardiness was. When she hadn't returned by 4 p.m., her husband, Dale, picked up the kids. A few hours later, he set out looking for Beverly and found her car abandoned at a nearby park, with her shoes and purse inside.
At first, it was feared that England had drowned. As noted, the river was about to burst its banks, and she couldn't swim. But searches of the river and the surrounding areas proved fruitless, and the woman with whom England met that morning was cleared by authorities.
Twelve years later, the Pueblo Chieftain reports, human bones were found in the area of Mount Shavano. They were turned over to the Chaffee County Sheriff's Office, but testing at the time wasn't able to tie them to the England case or any other.
In the more than two decades since then, however, DNA technology has improved. Within the past few weeks, a pathologist with the University of Northern Texas who works with the CCSO was able to positively identify the remains as England thanks to DNA samples from her now-adult kids.
That's not all. Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze tells the Chieftain that the site where the bones were discovered was recently reexamined and "several key items of evidence have been recovered, which led investigators to believe that Beverly England died as the victim of foul play."
Will this material confirm that England was a homicide victim — and lead to the arrest of the person responsible? Too soon to tell. But after three-and-a-half decades, this cold case is starting to warm up.