The murder early Monday morning of Thornton's Nathan Bozonier, 16, didn't take place in isolation. The Thornton Police Department says Bozonier was hit by a car, then struck by an aluminum bat while surrounded by a group of people who were run off by a number of others.
In the days that followed, cops found the 1996 Nissan Maxima involved in the crime -- and now, according to TPD spokesman Officer Matt Barnes, they've obtained what they believe to be the bat in question; it was found by two neighborhood girls
It's not just any piece of sporting equipment. The bat is "covered by markings," Barnes says. "I'm not sure what they mean; they're just little scribbles all over it." However, he notes, "They look like graffiti."
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At present, Barnes won't state categorically that the bat was involved in the Bozonier murder. "We'll be doing forensic tests, additional tests on the bat, and letting witnesses observe it to see if they believe it's the one they saw on the night of the attack."
As for the graffiti comparison, it would seem to lend credence to theories of gang involvement. But Barnes doesn't go there -- and neither does he provide much information on the owner of the Nissan. "He has been cooperative, and he has been in contact with us," he says, adding that he's not aware of anybody claiming that the car had been stolen.
Meanwhile, Barnes continues, "we've identified several new witnesses, and we still have additional witnesses we're seeking to speak with."
There's no time frame on arrests at this point. "This is an ongoing investigation," he says. "We want to progress as slowly and meticulously as possible, to make sure we've done a thorough investigation. And we haven't ruled anybody out."