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Photos: Ten More Unsolved Colorado Murders and Personal Stories of Victims

Sarah Skiba. Learn more about her tragic story and those of nine other victims below.
Sarah Skiba. Learn more about her tragic story and those of nine other victims below.

Over the years, we've intermittently highlighted unsolved Colorado homicides listed on the Families of Homicide Victims and Missing Persons website -- including the rape and murder of Jacqueline Gallegos, whose alleged killer, Andre Jackson, was just convicted. Unfortunately, however, there's no shortage of people who have not yet been punished after committing society's most heinous crime, including the suspected murderer of nine-year-old Sarah Skiba, seen here.

Continue to learn about ten more mysteries, featuring photos and personal stories of the victims as featured on the FOHVAMP site, and click on victim names for more details, including law-enforcement contact info if you can help finally bring their killers to justice.

See also: Andre Jackson Found Guilty in Brutal Cold Case Rape and Murder

Mary Lou Vickerman

Mary Lou Vickerman.
Mary Lou Vickerman.

Mary Lou Victkerman was born Dec. 20, 1937, in New Orleans. She graduated from high school in Niles, Mich., and nursing school in Battle Creek, Mich. She was a licensed practical nurse for many years.

Mary Lou previously lived in Wisconsin and moved to Loveland in 1990. She was a member of the First Christian Church. She held many offices with different organizations, including Beginning Experiences, both in Wisconsin and in Loveland. She volunteered in various organizations in Wisconsin and Loveland and was involved in the local United Way.

She enjoyed being with her grandchildren and liked to cook, especially for the holidays, and entertaining. She always prepared something special for potluck dinners. She also enjoyed doing crafts.

On Sept 13, 1999 Mary Lou was sitting on her bicycle waiting to cross US 287 at the entrance to Orchards Shopping Center in Loveland when a 1970s model red Ford pickup with a white camper shell turned out of the shopping center, slammed into Mary Lou Vickerman who died of head trauma. Driver of the pickup did not stop. He was described as a white male in his late 30s or early 40s. If you have information related to this case please contac Sgt. Higney at the Loveland Police Department, (970) 667-2151.

Michael Nigg

Michael Nigg, 26, was born in Gunnison and attended Western State College. Nature was an important part of his life. He liked skiing and played soccer from age 6 to 18. His favorite retreat was in the mountains. Michael was always available to be a friend; he always had time for others.

After college, he went to California and worked as a waiter, actor and model. In fact, Michael was a good friend of Ron Goldman's and was killed just as the trial of O.J. Simpson finsihed. On September 8, 1995, Michael stopped at an ATM with his girlfriend, drove to the restaurant parking lot and was shot as he got out of the car.

Three months later, the individual who drove the getaway car admitted his participation. Three persons were arrested but released for lack of evidence. Offers of rewards and a feature on America's Most Wanted proved fruitless. No one has been charged with this murder.

Michael Nigg is the son of Gayle Hart of Littleton and Joe Nigg of Denver.

Continue to learn about more unsolved Colorado murders, including photos and personal stories of the victims.   Jeffrey Newkirk

Jeffrey Burt Newkirk, 20, of Evergreen Colorado, attended Colorado Academy. He enjoyed his motorcyle and loved to hike around the mountains. Jeffrey was an accomplished pianist, studying piano here and in England. He won several competitions. His teacher in England said Jeffrey was her star pupil. When Jeffrey's parents were ready to depart for the United States, the teacher said, sadly, "You've given me the pupil of my life and now you're going to take him away. Jeffrey's father, Dr. John Newkirk, describes his son as "brilliant" but with "brilliant sensitivities." In September 1979, Jeffrey decided to travel to California to live with a cousin. For a short while they lived together, then Jeffrey moved out. After a few weeks of not hearing from Jeffrey, the cousin went to his apartment and found he was missing. But all his clothes and backpack were still there. A report was made to the Los Angeles police. The following January, a hiker discovered Jeffrey's remains on a California hillside. But they lay unidentified in a morgue. Meanwhile, Jeffrey's parents had hired a private investigator and travelled to California. They spurred law enforcement to appoint a new investigator. They supplied dental charts and x-rays. One year after he was reported missing, the remains in the morgue were identified as those of Jeffrey Newkirk. A cause of death was never definitely determined, but homicide is suspected. Christine Zablocki-Alicata

Christine Zablocki was President of her Junior class at Evergreen (CO) High School and participated in student government as a senior. She was on the swim team and worked in the cafeteria. Christine attended Colorado State University where she received a degree in nutrition. She received a masters in nutrition from the University of Hawaii. Christine did volunteer work with unwed mothers and in the hospital nutrition department. On May 28, 1983, Christine married Danny Alicata.She was accepted to Medical School at the University of Hawaii. Christine was spending the holidays with her family on the island of Maui in 1986. On December 31, she went jogging alone on the beach. Jogging was a favorite pastime with Christine but this time, she did not return. Her body was found the next day, Jan 1, 1987. She had been strangled. There are no suspects. In addition to her mother, Carole Zablocki of Evergreen, Christine is survived by two brothers, Craig Zablocki of Denver and Curtis Zablocki of Layton, UT. Continue to learn about more unsolved Colorado murders, including photos and personal stories of the victims.   Christopher Irish

Christopher Lee Irish, 23, was born in Grand Junction on February 27, 1971. A gifted artist, he studied at the Colorado Institute of Art in Denver. Chris had 3 children. He was a member of the Guardian Angels.

A Rockies fan, Chris worked taking tickets and as a security guard at Mile Hi Stadium. As a hobby, Chris airbrushed T-shirts and played football in the park.

In June 1994, he went to Wittman, Arizona with his sister to attend a cousin's graduation. While there, he went to an acquaintance's birthday party. The next morning, Chris' body was found by railroad tracks, legs cut off, hit by a train.

A wound on the back of his head was consistent with a blow from a knife or hatchet according to a family member.

No one has ever been charged with this crime. Chris is the son of Leslie Irish of Denver.

Philisia Bunting

Philisia Marie Bunting, 16, attended East High School in Denver. Her outgoing and witty personality never failed to make others smile or laugh. Philisia was just getting into drama "and she liked it" said her mother, Carrelyn.

The oldest of three children, Philisia had a sister, Tamieka, and a brother, Ivory. A people person, she liked to listen to music. Philisia loved Boy George and was a punk rocker. Her mother described her as adventurous, a modern day hippie.

Philisia and her family had been in counseling at Urban Peak and they were making progress toward reunification. Counselor Julie Griffin said "Her smile was not unlike that of an angel. Her laughter could fill the room with joy. Her struggle was that no one could feel what it was like to be Philisia. She always said, "I am me, I am different, I am Philisia." She had a vision, but she chose a road in which not even an angel would be safe.

In July 1990, Philisia left Denver on a road trip to the west in the company of three young males: Maurice Dureson, Wayne Kirk and Wayne Irish. On July 20, her body was found face down with a large rock on the side of her head in the waters of Island Acres State Recreation Area east of Grand Junction. In the ensuing investigation, the Mesa County Sheriff's office interviewed the three young males. Maurice Dureson was arrested but later released. The crime remains unsolved.

Continue to learn about more unsolved Colorado murders, including photos and personal stories of the victims.   Michael Wayne Harris

Michael Wayne Harris.
Michael Wayne Harris.

Michael Wayne Harris was born in Arlington, VA December 16, 1950. He is remembered by his son, Pat Harris, as a fun-loving guy. They would go rafting, target shooting and four-wheeling together - anything fun. Michael was a mechanic. Michael also worked some as a miner. Married and divorced, he had three sons. But Michael Harris also had an addiction to drugs. He went through rehab to get off cocaine and alcohol. As Pat tells it, his dad was involved in a pot growing operation on the western slope of Colorado with several others including Tom Willsey and Keith Bergstrom. Keith and Michael wanted out. Michael went to Montrose but didn't take his gun. Michael went missing July 8, 1989. His body was found in Mesa County by a bow hunter four miles west of Highway 65 near Lands End Road on October 18, 1991. He suffered gunshot wounds to the head and neck. Willsey had showed up at Bergstrom's house in Michael's jeep and shot Keith Bergstrom in the head in July 1989. But Bergstrom survived and Willsey was found guilty of attempted murder. He was sentenced to 32 years in prison, but he is now eligible for parole. No one has been prosecuted for the murder of Michael Wayne Harris. If you have information related to this crime, please call Sgt Weather of the Mesa Counties Complex Crime Unit at 970-244-3265. Clarence Richards

Clarence "Charly" Wayne Richards, 24, was born in Colorado Springs. He had lived in Vancouver, Washington since 1984. He graduated from Mountain View High School there, taking a vocational course focusing on the culinary arts. Charly always wanted to be a cook.

Charly joined the US Army in 1987. Upon completion of his tour of duty, he returned to Vancouver and took a job in the kitchen of the local Veterans Administration hospital. Charly studied culinary arts at Clark College and served in the Army Reserve. His long term plan was to become a chef for the VA.

In mid 1992, Charly was assigned temporary duty to help out at the Portland, Oregon VA hospital for two months. On August 21, 1992, Charly left the hospital at 8 p.m. after his workday was complete. At 8:35 PM witnesses saw his black Ford Ranger 4X4 nick another car's fender as it manuevered for a parking place and then drive off. They noted there were two people in the truck. The one on the passenger side was a man with long, dark hair.

Charly didn't come home that night and didn't show up for work the next day. On August 31, a bowhunter found Charly's decomposed body in the Thousand Acres area north of Interstate 84 and east of the Sandy River. His body had multiple stab wounds to the chest. Charly's truck had been found in Portland on August 22nd.

His sister, Tammie Hagans of Escobeto, CA said "Charly didn't have an enemy in the world. You can imagine if he was in bad situations all the time. But he was very cleancut." Charly's survivors also included his parents, Eleanor Richards of San Diego and James Richards of Nebraska; a brother, Donald Jamison of Milo, Iowa; sisters Julie Chetnik of Thornton, CO, Kimberly Richards of Lakewood, CO, Judy Clark of Denver, CO.

Continue to learn about more unsolved Colorado murders, including photos and personal stories of the victims.   Charles Duke

Charles Duke.
Charles Duke.

Charles Duke grew up in Piqua, Ohio. He joined the army and was shot in Vietnam. Treated at a VA Hospital, he was disabled. While in the Army he married Lydia. They lived in Kentucky and had a daughter. Later divorced, Chuck moved to Colorado and bought a house in Ordway. He was an avid fisherman and a VFW member. Chuck was supposed to go to a party with Pam Eddings who borrowed his niece's van (Duke did not drive). The van reportedly got stuck. Eddings found her way out, but Charles Duke was never seen again. A short time later his house in Ordway blew up injuring two children and their baby sitter. The explosion was believed to be arson. Duke's family believes he is a homicide victim. If you have information about this crime, please report it to the Otero County Sheriff, 719-384-5941 or the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, 303-239-4291. Sarah Skiba

Photos: Ten More Unsolved Colorado Murders and Personal Stories of Victims

Paul Skiba attended Wayzetta High School in Minnesota where he was born and raised. Paul was 19 when he came to Colorado with his girl friend. He worked at installing sprinklers for a while; later he went to work for a moving company. After several years the owner retired and Paul took over the moving business with his cousin, Herbert Michael Hymes. Paul bought Hymes out in 1998.

The business was called Tuff Movers. The firm was frequently called upon to move antiques as well as items for some of Denver's luminaries and sports figures. It made a good living for Paul who brought his mother, Sharon, to Colorado from Minnesota. Paul and his mother lived together in Thornton. When asked the reason for Paul's success, his father, Carroll Skiba said "Paul was a hard worker, very intelligent and a good guy. He was very personable, outgoing and conscientious."

Paul Skiba enjoyed camping. He took his employees on camping outings at least once a year. He loved fishing and carried tackle in the vehicle wherever he went. He also enjoyed cooking. Paul married Michelle in 1989. They had a daughter, Sarah. Later, the couple divorced. Michelle was awarded custody of Sarah; Paul was given weekly visitation rights.

But Paul continued to be a good father to Sarah, visiting her in Granby every Wednesday. Paul would get a motel, bring Sarah over to play in the pool. The two would go out to eat and then Paul would take Sarah to school the next morning. Father and daughter frequently went fishing together.

Paul loved Colorado. He attended concerts of his favorite music groups at Red Rocks and enjoyed skiing. Paul and Sarah would go tubing at Fraser. Paul had a good sense of humor and was generous to those in need. He also enjoyed smoking marijuana which he shared with friends and employees.

At the end of January 1999, Sharon went back to Minnesota for her mother's funeral. While there on February 7, she received a call that Paul & Sarah had disappeared. His girl friend Theresa "just knew something terrible had happened to Paul." Sarah's mother, Michelle, reported to authorities that Sarah was last seen with her father. Sarah was 9-1/2 years old.

Grand County Sheriff issued a warrant for Paul's arrest. Thornton Police were notified and listed Paul as a missing person. Lakewood police listed employee Lorenzo Chivers as missing also.

Then a different scenario unfolded. A neighbor told the family that Paul & his girlfriend, Theresa, had a big fight and he told her to get out. It was now a week since Paul, Sarah and Lorenzo were last seen on a moving job in Morrison.

Sharon went to the storage lot of the moving company with Rich, Paul's best friend. There was a strange lock on the gate. Rich went over the fence and walked up to the truck, moving a board away from the side. He saw all kinds of bullet holes, a blood smear and a piece of scalp with hair. Other family members, including Lorenzo's, were called and came to the scene.

Thornton Police were called. The storage lot, located near 72nd & Raleigh, was close to an auto repair business and an archery shop. Investigators learned that on the night of the disappearance the truck had left the yard about 9 pm and returned about midnight. Analysis of the blood revealed it was Paul & Sarah's.

Police theorized that the murders took place at the lot, the killers then loaded the bodies into the truck, disposed of them, then returned the truck to the lot. Bodies of the victims have never been found. Chivers has not been seen since. He had a son and a daughter the same age as Sarah. If you have information regarding any element of this crime, please contact Sgt. D. R. Lester at 303-430-2400, ext 4226.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.


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