Jaacob Vanwinkle, sex offender, busted in murder of Canon City mom, two kids

Update: Earlier today, we shared early information about a triple homicide in Canon City; see our previous coverage below.

The more details that emerge, the more horrific the story becomes. The victims in the case were reportedly a woman and her two children -- and the suspect in custody, Jaacob Vanwinkle, is a sex offender previously tied to a death in Indiana a few years ago.

Continue for the latest, complete with photos and video.

Vanwinkle is listed on the Colorado Sex Offender website. He's described as being 31 years old and sporting tattoos on his left hand, right arm, left calf, left shoulder and neck.

His current status refers to him as "incarcerated" -- which was out of date until a short time ago.

Back in September 2011, Vanwinkle was brought in for questioning in Johnson County, Indiana, after his roommate, fifty-year-old Michael Eaton, was reported missing. Police subsequently found Eaton's body under debris in the bedroom of a residence the pair shared. Vanwinkle was captured in a wooded area and is said to have been wanted on a parole violation at the time.

Here's a mug shot of Vanwinkle that accompanied news reports of his 2011 arrest. As you can see, his neck tattoo can be seen clearly.

We don't yet know when Vanwinkle was freed from his previous jailing or how he made his way to Colorado. But the crime for which he's been arrested is both serious and shocking.

Reports say the teenage daughter of a 35-year-old woman called police about an assault. Upon their arrival, officers found the woman dead along with her five-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter.

Here's a video package about Vanwinkle's 2011 arrest, followed by a new booking photo showing him with a shaved head. Below that is our previous coverage.

Continue for our previous coverage of the triple homicide in Canon City, including an interactive graphic and a photo. Original post, 5:37 a.m.: The call to the Canon City Police Department involved a report about the sex assault, with the victim described as a teenager.

But officers who responded soon discovered a wider-ranging tragedy: three bodies.

The CCPD is reportedly investigating a triple homicide. And investigators are said to have one person in custody.

Here's what we know thus far.

The incident took place on the 1100 block of Phay Avenue in Canon City. That area is captured in the following interactive graphic; if you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."

View Larger Map

As for the crime scene itself, the only photo to emerge this far comes courtesy of the Canon City Daily Record. Here's a screen capture from the newspaper's report:

The details released after 8 p.m. last night by the Canon City police are basic. The department reveals that police looking into the sex-assault report arrived at the Phay Avenue home to find three bodies inside the home.

In addition, a person of interest was also present and has been detained.

Police say the public at large is not in danger -- a statement that typically means investigators believe that either the shooter is in custody or dead.

According to KRDO-TV, more information is expected to be released at a press conference later this morning.

In the meantime, anyone with information about the case is encouraged to phone the Canon City Police Department at 719-276-5600 or Fremont County Crime Stoppers at 719-275-STOP (7867).

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our News archive circa June 2013: "Update: Robin and Mark Herklotz ID'd as Black Forest fire victims, 509 homes destroyed."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts