On Sunday, as we note in our original coverage below, Wayne Lufkin, 74, disappeared from an assisted-care facility, after which authorities discovered he had warrants on him in Colorado and Oregon. Now comes word that Lufkin has been found in Denver and is currently cooling his heels in another kind of assisted-care facility -- a jail -- due to what appears to be his love of Colorado.
When Lufkin first went missing, the Colorado Springs Police Department asserted that he was wanted in Oregon for violating parole on a murder beef. However, we discovered a 1991 article in the Oregonian newspaper noting that Lufkin was actually convicted of attempted murder and various other crimes associated with shooting his mother in law and one-and-a-half-year-old child and attempting to strangle his estranged wife with a rope. His sentence: 33 years.
We subsequently contacted the CSPD, whose rep didn't get back to us -- understandable given that spokeswoman Barbara Miller was helping to plan today's burial of Officer Matthew Tyner, who was recently killed during traffic-enforcement duty. However, the Colorado Springs Gazette was able to confirm that Lufkin's sentence was for attempted murder.
Additionally, the Gazette learned that Lufkin had been paroled, only to be returned to prison twice in the past nine years. And on both of those occasions, he was found in Colorado before being carted back to Oregon.
Lufkin's most recent release was this past December, but Oregon issued a warrant for his arrest on July 10 because he left his residence for Colorado without letting parole officials know he was going. As for his arrest in Denver, the CSPD's Miller didn't give details to the Gazette beyond confirming that he's in custody.
Colorado also has a warrant for Lufkin, for alleged offenses such as criminal impersonation. But since the charge in Oregon is more serious, it seems likely that he'll soon be headed back to the Pacific Northwest, whether he wants to or not.
Look below for our earlier coverage.
Original post, 12:59 p.m. July 30: Most stories about a septuagenarian missing from an assisted care facility center entirely on concern for the subject of the search. But not in the case of Wayne Lufkin, 74, who appears to have carefully planned his escape -- maybe because he's wanted on a Colorado warrant and a parole violation in Oregon that appears to be related to a brutal attempted murder conviction.
Media outlets such as the Colorado Springs Gazette are echoing a reference in the Colorado Springs Police blotter about Lufkin being wanted " for a parole violation on the original charge of murder" in Oregon.
But according to an August 1991 article in The Oregonian newspaper -- we found it in a Nexus search -- Lufkin didn't actually kill anyone in a case that netted him a hefty sentence that year. Although it wasn't for a lack of trying.
The paper reports that in April 1990, Lufkin's estranged wife was staying with her parents at a residence in Canby, Oregon, while Lufkin was living in a camper parked at the house. Then, on the 26th of that month, Lufkin got drunk and tried to strangle his former spouse with a rope -- and he didn't stop there. He also got hold of a gun and fired it, striking his mother in law and his child, age eighteen months. All three recovered from their wounds.
Lufkin wasn't arrested until March 1991, and the bust took place in Colorado; he's said to have originally been from Denver. After being extradited to Oregon, he was put on trial in Clackamas County Circuit Court, where a jury convicted him of eleven offenses, including "attempted murder with a rope, attempted murder with a firearm, first-degree attempted assault with a firearm, third-degree assault with a firearm and seven counts of recklessly endangering another person," the Oregonian reveals.
Length of sentence: 33 years.
No information yet on when Lufkin was paroled or how he wound up back in Colorado. However, the CSPD report says that he'd also racked up a warrant here for charges that include giving false information to a police officer and criminal impersonation.
These accusations didn't prevent him from finding a place at an assisted-living facility on the 2400 block of East Fountain in Colorado Springs. But after what the Gazette estimates as just two days at the center, he was discovered missing by staffers early Sunday morning. The paper says he escaped through his bedroom window, taking with him $1,300 in cash, presumably to cover expenses on the road.
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The CSPD release says Lufkin can only be extradited for the Oregon parole violation from states in the northwest portion of the U.S. -- which could mean he's headed in the opposite direction. We've made an interview request with the police spokeswoman and will update this post with additional details when and if she gets back to us. In the meantime, should you know of Lufkin's whereabouts or destination, phone the department at 719-444-7000.
Here's a larger look at his mug shot: