Kenia Monge disappearance: Self-described suspect Travis Forbes's dirty panties secret
Update: It's been almost three weeks since Kenia Monge vanished after a night of partying at a downtown club that should have rejected her due to her age, nineteen. Since then, more disturbing information has surfaced about Travis Forbes, a man who gave her a ride in his van and calls himself as a suspect in her disappearance. The latest has to do with his criminal past, which includes a creepy interest in stealing, poking holes in and marking women's panties.
Monge partied hard at Denver's 24K nightclub on April 1 judging by the photos taken that night, on view below, and her behavior afterward. First, she's said to have left her cell phone and purse behind. Then she was seen walking with a homeless man, after which she was given a ride in a van by Forbes, who was initially described in news accounts as a good Samaritan. He said he dropped off the enormously drunk Monge at a gas station on the 500 block of Speer, where she left with a third man, this one of Asian descent -- and she hasn't been seen since.
After that initial flurry of reports, however, a different portrait of Forbes began to emerge. According to 7News, police searched his van, which appeared to have new carpeting, and went to a bakery where he rents space, reportedly to manufacture gluten-free granola bars called "Forbies." There, the owner told cops the security system in the space had been turned off that evening -- and video showed Forbes had done so while wearing what looked like a latex glove. On top of that, an employee at a business next door said he saw several men burning something in a 55 gallon barrel behind the bakery late on April 1. Police grabbed a barrel and a yellow rubber glove as evidence. And then there was the large cooler Forbes was seen transporting into the bakery the next day. The Denver Post reports that it had a broken latch and was being held closed with duct tape.
Forbes's record is far from spotless. He admitted to 9News that he spent three years behind bars for a burglary conviction, claiming that he used to be a drug addict and would steal Demerol from dentists offices. He'd also racked up a shoplifting beef and was stopped recently for driving with expired license plates.
But Forbes seems to have left out a few of his more sordid busts. The Post notes that he was arrested as a teenager for breaking into sixteen homes and businesses in Fort Collins. Among the finds police made were several pairs of stolen panties, including two pairs with the letter "M" written on them with a marker and big rips presumably inflicted by Forbes.
Another crime involving women: He was convicted of third-degree assault after throwing rocks at two female joggers back in 2004.
At this writing, no charges have been filed against Forbes. But few would be shocked if that changes before long. Look below to see our previous coverage.
Update, 11:41 a.m. April 14: Still no one charged in the disappearance of Kenia Monge, 19, after a night of clubbing on April 1 -- but the info contained in a search warrant obtained by 7News about a man ID'd by another station as Travis Forbes is disturbing in the extreme.
The document references a switched-off security system, a latex glove and something burned in a 55-gallon drum.
Monge, a recent Cherry Creek High School grad, left the LoDo nightclub 24K at around 12:30 a.m. on the night in question, after which she's said to have walked for a while with a homeless man before accepting a ride from the driver of a van. That man -- Forbes, according to 9News -- says he picked up Mongia because she was drunk, unsteady on her feet and crying. But he insists that after dropping her at a gas station, she left with another man, who he describes as being around five-feet-four-inches tall and possibly Asian, although he and Monge spoke Spanish together. She was fine when he last saw her, he says.
Forbes, by the way, has a sizable rap sheet, including a burglary conviction for which he spent three years in stir; he claims that he used to be a drug addict and steal Demerol from dentists offices. His most recent brushes with the law involve a Lakewood shoplifting beef from three months back and a stop for driving with expired license plates.
With that kind of history, it would make sense for the Denver cops to look long and hard at him -- and while DPD spokesman Lt. Matt Murray told 9News he wasn't sure why Forbes considered himself the main suspect in the Monge disappearance, the aforementioned search warrant obtained by 7News tells a different tale. And while the station doesn't use Forbes's name, because he has yet to be charged with a crime, there's no confusion about who's being discussed.
Police searched the van, which seemed to have been outfitted with new carpet; one of Forbes's pals says a black rubber mat had previously covered the floor. They also went to a bakery where he rents space; according to 9News, he manufactures gluten-free granola bars called "Forbies." According to the owner of the building, the security system had been switched off -- and she said there's video showing that Forbes did so while wearing what looked like a latex glove that covered his forearm up to his elbow.
On top of that, an employee at a business next door told cops that he saw several men standing behind the bakery late on April 1, burning something in a 55 gallon barrel.
The police took a barrel and a yellow rubber glove into evidence.
To get a better sense of Forbes, here's the 9News piece, followed by our earlier coverage.
Original item, 11:01 a.m. April 11: Kenia Monge shouldn't have gotten into 24K, a Denver nightclub; she's just nineteen. But on April 1, the recent Cherry Creek High School grad gained access to the hot spot and took lots of photos of the fun she was having.
Then, a few hours later, she vanished -- and Denver police say finding out what happened to her is their number one priority.
Plenty of people saw Monge on the night she went missing, and many of the stories that have been coming out have baffled her loved ones. First, she reportedly left her cell phone and purse at the club after leaving hurriedly at around 12:30 a.m.. Then she was spotted walking with a homeless man, after which she is said to have accepted a ride from a stranger -- the kind of behavior that makes her stepfather think she may have been drugged or not in her right mind.
The driver, who's been described as a good Samaritan thus far, gave her a ride to a Conoco gas station on the 500 block of Speer. But about 3:15 a.m. the following morning, Monge allegedly left with yet another man. And that's the last time she's been seen.
More than a week later, the Denver Police Department still hasn't formally described what, if anything, happened to Monge as a crime -- but its actions to date hardly seem like those associated with, say, a runaway scenario. They searched a landfill near Keenesberg early in the week but didn't find Monge. Then, last Thursday, a body was discovered in an open space area near the Cherry Creek spillway -- and speculation immediately centered on her. But no: Long before identifying the person who died, a spokesman for the police department in Aurora, her hometown, announced it wasn't Monge.
Meanwhile, the Monge story has gone national -- no surprise given the gorgeous photo of her used in posters her family put up around town. But Lt. Matt Murray, speaking for the Denver Police Department, isn't complaining about the extra attention. He believes the more eyes looking for Monge, the better.
And while he stresses the case has not yet been categorized as criminal, he points out that "we are very concerned. We're worried about her safety, and every day that goes by causes us more concern. It's the highest priority of the Denver Police Department right now."
That's why the DPD is deploying "a vast amount of resources to this 24/7," he continues, "and also brought in experts around the country," including the FBI and the Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Although Monge is technically an adult, he notes that two members of Team Adam, a unit named for the late Adam Walsh, are in Denver, "and they're going to stay with us and help us until we have some kind of resolution."
Regarding cell phone photos of Monge released from April 1, Murray won't say who provided them -- but he does stress that the reason faces of others in the shots have been obscured "has nothing to do with guilt or innocence. We just didn't want people to speculate about them."
More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Edward and Linda Bryant: What happened to alleged scammers' kids, missing for years?"
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