Crime

Ten Jeffco Cold Case Homicides: Can You Help Solve These Crimes?

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.

Dellmer Betts

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.

Margaret Beck

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.



Harold Cohen

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.

Melanie Cooley

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.

Nora Coursey

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.

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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