Laurie Teter Mystery: Bust of Robert Smith for Her Murder, Child Sex Assault

Last September, we told you about Laurie Teter, whose body was discovered on the side of the road in a remote area after she'd been reported missing.

At the time of our post, her death was being investigated as a homicide.

More than six months later, an indictment has been handed down in the case. Robert Smith of Log Lane Village has been hit with a murder charge.

And that's not all: Smith is also facing charges related to child-sex assault and Internet luring, among other things.

We don't know precisely how these allegations connect with Teter's death; a judge has ordered documents in the case sealed. But they suggest a possible motive in a case that has torn at the hearts of Teter's loved ones since she vanished.

On September 3, as we reported, the Morgan County Sheriff's Office announced that it was "attempting to locate a missing woman to check her welfare."

The MCSO revealed that she'd last been seen before noon the previous day, September 2, in an area northeast of Fort Morgan. She and her boyfriend had gotten involved in what was characterized as "an apparent physical fight."

The office also shared the photo at the top of this post and made note of several of tattoos.

The following morning, the sheriff's office issued an update, noting search areas north of the Platte River east of Highway 52, with a concentration on field roads, as well as unoccupied buildings and structures.

Then, on September 9, the MCSO revealed that the worst fears about Teter had been realized. Her body was found near the intersection of County Roads U.5 and Road 24, an area captured in the following interactive graphic. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View on Google Maps."

Teter's online obituary notes that she was determined to have died on September 2. The notice reads in part:
Laurie was a free spirit and had a kind heart. She was loved by many and will be greatly missed by her two children, Gregory and Destiny and granddaughter Aerith; parents Russ and Brenda; sister Jessica and her husband Russell, neice Aubree, nephew Franklin and all other family and friends.
Those loved ones subsequently established the Justice for Laurie Facebook group to keep the investigation into her death in the public eye.

Images shared on the page include memorial images like this one....

...and pics from events held in her honor, including this collage....

...and a shot of a sign with a pointed and poignant message:

The persistence of those in Teter's circle paid off when the Morgan County Sheriff's Office revealed a grand jury's indictment of Smith, 37, on the following charges:

• Second Degree Murder
• Attempting To Influence A Public Servant
• Tampering With Physical Evidence
• Perjury in the First Degree
• Sexual Assault of a Child By One In A Position of Trust
• Internet Luring of A Child With Intent to Exploit
• Enticement of a Child

According to the MCSO, investigators "pored over hours of surveillance video, conducted forensic examinations of cell phones and computers, and analyzed tens of thousands of pages of records."

FBI experts in the fields of hydrology and entomology were also consulted.

Along the way, law enforcers discovered what is described as "evidence of a sexual assault of a girl under the age of fifteen, along with enticement of a child by use of the Internet."

The investigation was interrupted by the discovery of a murder victim whose body had been dumped on Interstate 76 in Morgan County — an apparent reference to the death of Jose Manriquez in November. Manriquez was from Adams County, and the inquiry into his demise shifted to that area.

The arrest of Smith followed — and that's all we know thus far.

Still, the development comes as a tremendous relief to those who knew and loved Teter. Some sample Facebook reactions:
Great job to all Law Enforcement involved.  Thank you. May my grandkids start to heal now.

Exactly where this man belongs!!

Mixed emotions.... first thank you SO MUCH to those who helped put him away! Im so happy. but on the other hand I feel extremely sad...for his daughter not only lost her aunt. ..... she lost her dad too....

Now you may Rip Laurie Teter we miss you so much. May you family now have peace.
We second the thoughts at the heart of the last note. Here's a look at Robert Smith's booking photo.

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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

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