There is no statute of limitations on murder.
This law enforcement truism is exemplified by the Jefferson County cold cases page.
More than thirty homicides are listed, some of them dating back well over half a century.
But the cases remain open, and that's as it should be. The victims may be gone, but their loved ones — or the offspring of their loved ones — still deserve justice.
Look below to see the information on ten such tragedies, complete with photos and descriptions from the site. If you have any information about the cases, you're encouraged to contact the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office tip line at 303-271-5612.
On Sunday, April 27, 1986, hikers found the body of a white male in a drainage ditch at Highway 6, about 4.5 miles west of Highway 58. The body was identified as 29-year-old Dellmer Betts, who had recently been released from prison after serving time for a narcotics violation.
Betts, an admitted drug user and seller, was reportedly last seen on Friday, April 25, 1986, at a residence near 34th and Lawrence in Denver, where he was temporarily staying. Betts was wearing blue jeans, bright orange socks and a blue T-shirt when he was found. Betts's brown briefcase was not recovered.
On August 18, 1963, Margaret "Peggy" Beck, a sixteen-year-old Girl Scout aide, was found dead at the Flying G Ranch Girl Scout camp near Deckers. Beck, who had been sleeping alone in a tent near many other campers, had been sexually assaulted and strangled.
In November 1949, 38-year-old Harold Murphy Cohen was reported missing to the Denver Police Department. Cohen, who went by the name Murphy or "Murph," was a known gambler and fight referee. He had reportedly attended a ceremonial dinner at Gaetano's in Denver before he disappeared.
Cohen was last seen wearing a goldish-brown cardigan-style jacket, pearl-gray sleeveless sweater, grayish-blue trousers, brown shoes and a brown hat.
He was found February 11, 1950, in what was known then as Blue Lake, located south of Highway 58 at Indiana Street. The lake is now on MillerCoors company property. Cohen's body was found in the lake and had been weighted down, but it was caught on a ledge and didn't go to the bottom of the ninety-foot-deep lake.
On April 15, 1975, Melanie "Suzy" Cooley left Nederland High School, where she was a senior. She was last seen hitchhiking in Nederland. A road maintenance worker found her body on May 2, 1975, in Coal Creek Canyon.
Cooley was last seen wearing blue jeans, a blue jean jacket with an embroidered eagle on the back, and tan-colored boots. She had been hit over the head repeatedly with a large rock.
The body of thirty-year-old Nora Lois Coursey was found on July 9, 1957, about a mile west of Phillipsburg on Colorado State Highway 124 (Deer Creek Canyon Road). Coursey had been missing since June 19, 1957, when she attended an afternoon birthday party with her daughter. She left the party at about 3 p.m. in Englewood to go to a shopping area to purchase napkins, possibly near 33rd and Broadway.
Coursey was last seen wearing a pink blouse with sequins, a pink, gray and white floral skirt, white high-heeled sandals and a white purse. She was driving her 1950 Hudson. Coursey may have been seen after leaving the party at a Woolworth store at the Englewood Shopping Center and at Roxie's Tavern located near Hampden and Santa Fe. Her car was found at Colfax and Elm in Denver on June 27, 1957. Coursey normally wore a Bulova watch with a rectangular face. It was never recovered.
If you have information related to this case, or if you know the identity of the man pictured in this photo , please contact Investigator Cheryl Moore.
Continue to see more photos and information about Jefferson County homicide cold cases.
Julia Ann DeTemple
On September 17, 1986, two employees were loading gravel on outlying Coors property, east of Highway 58 and McIntyre Street. They found a badly decomposed body in the nearby brush. Investigation determined that the body was that of 26-year-old Julia DeTemple. She was last seen on August 18, 1986, when she hitchhiked to the 40 High bar and later obtained a ride to the Tap Inn. After 8 p.m., she was issued a Denver Mountain Parks Ticket in Red Rocks Park. DeTemple was wearing blue jeans, a light-blue short-sleeved sweat shirt and brown boots.
During the late afternoon of July 13, 1981, a resident in the 4000 block of Easley road in Golden reported what appeared to be a dead body on his property. The sheriff's office responded and found the body of Elvin Victor Fuster, a nineteen-year-old male who had been shot to death at that location.
The ensuing investigation revealed that Fuster had moved to Denver from Seattle about one month before, and he was living in the 1100 block of Downing street in Denver. He had been working at Josephine's Restaurant in Larimer Square as a dishwasher before his death. According to friends, Fuster had been assaulted in Denver after a dance at La Fiesta in the days before his murder. They indicated that drugs or a domestic-type argument motivated the assault.
Fuster was found wearing blue jeans and a white ruffled shirt. Neighbors in the 4000 block of Easley reported seeing a suspicious vehicle, described as a dark-colored Chevrolet Camaro, in the early morning hours of July 13, 1981.
On the morning of April 7, 1984, deputies responded to a report of a body lying on the front seat of a parked vehicle at Mother Cabrini Shrine, located near I-70 and Highway 40 in Golden. At the scene, deputies found the body of Mark Groezinger lying in the front seat of his blue and white two-door, 1973 Buick. Groezinger had suffered multiple gunshot wounds, and jewelry and keys were taken from the vehicle.
Investigators learned that Groezinger's wife and a family friend had last seen him at his home on April 6, 1984, at about 8:30 p.m., when he told them he was going to play pool at a local bar. Groezinger worked in Denver for a concrete coring company and enjoyed motorcycle riding and playing pool at local taverns.
On April 14, 1990 hikers on North Table Mountain located the body of a female in a ravine just off of Highway 58. Investigation determined that the body was that of fifteen-year-old Jessica Caudill, who had been deceased for several days.
Jessica was a runaway from Georgia, who was known to have hitched rides with truck drivers and had previously done so all the way to California. Jessica also used the name Night Child and Angel Heart when she traveled. She was frequently seen wearing a denim jacket with brown leather fringe.
She was known to have hung out at truck stops, and was believed to have been seen at the Union 76 Truck Stop at West 44th Avenue and Ward Road in Wheat Ridge.
Unknown Male Baby
On March 24, 1966, a man out on a drive found a male baby wrapped in blue cloth. The man had stopped in a pull-out two miles south of Simms on Alameda and saw the baby down an embankment. The newborn was determined to have been full-term and had died of exposure. It appeared the body had been there for two or three days.
The baby was wrapped in a blue cloth with a flower print. The umbilical cord, which was still attached, had not been tied and was torn from the placenta. The mother might have suffered from uterine bleeding following the birth. Also found in the cloth was a pattern piece for a Simplicity pattern for a doll dress. For more information about this case, contact The Doe Network.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.