Ghost Story

Page 9 of 9

Although Wheeler has never actually seen the results of the DNA tests, he says he got the information from law-enforcement sources. "It seems obvious to me that Henry Lee Lucas is not the killer," he adds.

Wheeler's boss says he's not yet ready to drop the charges against Lucas, however. "When and if an alternate suspect is identified and charged, then I will reconsider the charging of Lucas," Goodbee says.

Tammy says there originally were two suspects; Dave Andrews says authorities have two possible suspects now as well. The CBI would not confirm or deny whether they have any suspects at all.

Detective Ted Schoudt of the Clear Creek County Sheriff's Office says he's now investigating, but he wouldn't comment on possible suspects either. "It's an open murder case," he says. "We're actively working that case."

For Tammy, looking for answers has only led to more questions -- and a new burst of anger toward Lucas. Even if he didn't kill her sister, he made the police and Holly's family believe that he had, and she wants him to pay for his deception. She plans to write Lucas a letter telling him what she thinks of him.

"I hope [other prisoners] do to him what he's said he did to other people," she says. "He's made these people think these godawful things he's done to their family members. I just don't get it, how someone could lie like that."

To help Tammy get a sense of closure and an idea of how the investigation was conducted, the CBI's Armstrong says he's constructing a timeline of developments in the case. "We're actively relooking at this case," he adds. "We're going to do our damnedest to help this woman."

And Goodbee says, "I could think of nothing better for me and my office than to be able to identify 100 percent positively and prosecute the individual who killed Holly. Certainly from a family-resolution standpoint, that would be the best-case scenario. Whether that's something that will happen in the near future, I can't say."

Tammy has shared her recent discoveries about the case with her siblings, most of whom are scattered around the county, as well as with her father, who now lives in Idaho. Tammy's brother Dave, a 41-year-old construction worker who lives in Littleton, says he hasn't been able to bring himself to read the affidavit and report yet.

Neither sibling understands why DNA tests weren't performed earlier, or why the results of the tests, once they were done, have never been clearly and openly shared with Holly's family members.

"They talk about the technology, but I guess it's just for people who are higher-profile than my sister," Dave says. "I wish my mom would have known [the test results]. It might have made her not so bitter toward that one person. My mom put a lot of energy into hating [Lucas]."

Most of all, Tammy and Dave are angry that they are now back at the beginning --wondering, once again, who killed Holly. "I'll be dealing with this my whole life. I feel like I'm starting all over again," Tammy says.

"I know a lot of people, the public, possibly doesn't really care or doesn't acknowledge it," she adds. "But to the family members and the friends of the people who were killed, it does matter."

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Megan Hall