Now, Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock has spoken out about Lynn's death, and in his view, it wasn't an accident. Details, photos and videos below.
As we've reported, there's no shortage of photos showing the Harold and Toni looking happy together. This one.......was obtained by CBS4, the outlet whose coverage has helped turn the case into a national story, along with these twin portraits: The Highlands Ranch residents were parted permanently in September 2012, when Toni died -- and her obituary doesn't mention the possibility of foul play. But Toni's dad, Bob Bertolet, and his wife spent over two years seeking criminal charges against Harold for allegedly pushing his wife to her death during an anniversary hike.
Harold told authorities that Toni slipped while taking a photo, causing her to plunge fifty feet down Rocky Mountain National Park's Deer Mountain to her death. But questions arose due in part to the amount of life insurance in Toni's name: 7News cited three policies adding up to $4.5 million, with one claim submitted shortly after she died.These issues factored into a federal grand jury indictment for first-degree murder made public in November by the U.S. Attorney's Office, which has jurisdiction in the case because national parks are federal land. Meanwhile, the new charges brought fresh attention to the death of Lynn, which was also supposed to have been accidental.
In a statement, U.S. Attorney John Walsh pointed out that "in 1995, Harold Henthorn's prior wife" -- Lynn -- "died from injuries sustained from being crushed by a car while he was changing a tire in a remote location. The car allegedly came off the jack as he was throwing the tire in the trunk, crushing his wife, who was under the car for unknown reasons. There were no witnesses other than Harold Henthorn and a life insurance policy on her had been taken out several months prior."Douglas County authorities originally ruled Lynn's death an accident, but after Toni's death, they reopened the investigation into his first wife's demise.
Sheriff Spurlock, who took over the post just last month, tells CBS4 that the inquiry has involved forty interviews over a span of 27 months. And while no new charges have been pressed against Harold to date, Spurlock makes it clear where he stands on the matter.
"Based upon the information I've been briefed on up to this date...I do not think it's an accident," Spurlock told the station. "I don't think it was an accident and I think it's very suspicious."
Below, see two CBS4 reports -- one featuring comments from Spurlock and a previous item in which Lynn's family members discuss the case and their lingering grief over her premature passing. That's followed by the indictment related to Toni's death.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.