Moral Low Ground


Cañon City, Colorado Triple Murder Suspect Jaacob Harding Vanwinkle Arrested

March 11, 2014 by Brett Wilkins in Crime & Punishment with 0 Comments


Jaacob Van WinkleA suspect has been taken into police custody in connection with the murders of a Colorado woman and her two young children.

The Denver Post reports 31-year-old Jaacob Harding Vanwinkle was arrested in the same Cañon City home where a 35-year-old mother and her children, a 5-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl, were found dead on Sunday night.

Vanwinkle is reportedly a friend of the family. A teenage girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by the suspect and ran to a neighbor’s house to call police, Cañon City Police Sgt. Shannon Byerly said.

ACB 7 reports the alleged sexual assault victim dialed 911 to report the attack. Officers arriving on the scene shortly after 8pm found Vanwinkle in the home and arrested him without incident.

Police say he was living in the home where the murders occurred. The identities of the victims have not yet been released.

Vanwinkle was booked on suspicion of three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of kidnapping, sexual assault, and sexual assault on a child by a person in position of trust. He appeared in court on Monday.

“The possible penalty is life without parole or if the district attorney chooses to seek the death penalty, it is punishable by death, but the DA will not have to make that decision until later in the case,” said Judge David Thorson, who ordered Vanwinkle held without bail.

According to the Post, Vanwinkle has been convicted of several crimes in the state of Indiana, including sex crimes involving children. In November 2004, he was sentenced to four years behind bars for child molestation and vicarious sexual gratification, court records obtained by the paper showed. Three years later, he spent two years in prison after being convicted again of child molestation. Vanwinkle has also been convicted twice for theft. He pleaded guilty to a domestic violence charge in Fremont County, Colorado in 2012. He was also held and questioned as a suspect in the 2011 death of a 50-year-old Indiana man, although no charges were ever filed.

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