Grand Junction police said today they believe the disappearances of two Grand Junction women neighbors over the weekend are “unrelated” and may be a coincidence.
But since Tuesday Police Chief Ben Meyers has directed the detective division to “beef up” the investigation with additional officers and determine a cause for the disappearances.
The women – Mrs. Linda Miracle, 24, of 1925 Ouray, and Mrs. Patricia Botham, 25, of 1914 Ouray – were reported missing by relatives Saturday.
Mrs. Miracle’s children, Troy, 5, and Chad, 3, also are missing and relatives fear they may be the victims of foul play.
“We want to make a determination whether foul play is involved,” Meyers said.
But at this point, despite a stepped-up investigation and extensive canvassing of the neighborhood, by detectives, the case is still considered a missing persons report.
According to Sgt. Fred Albrecht there is presently “no indication of foul play” and officers believe the women disappeared at different times.
He said evidence gained thus far indicates the Miracle woman left sometime Friday night or Saturday morning and the Botham woman left Saturday.
“There is no indication the disappearances are related,” Albrecht said.
“We suspect they are not together,” he added.
Albrecht disputed a statement in a news story Tuesday which said the Miracle house was left as if the family was about to sit down for dinner.
He said an oven burner was on, but only dirty dishes left from a spaghetti dinner were found indicating the meal had been eaten.
There was no evidence of a struggle in the home or a forceable [forcible] exit, he added.
Meyers said the premature “panic” caused by reports of the missing women has forced him to require plainclothes officers to remain uniformed in the evening hours while working on investigations.
He said the department is “in the middle” in determining whether the women left of their own free will or if they were forced to leave.
The women left without a trace and detectives have questioned neighbors to determine exactly when.
The Botham woman’s two young children were found alone Saturday afternoon by their father, Ken Botham, at the home. Albrecht said police have information leading them to believe Mrs. Botham was at home Saturday morning.
Mrs. Miracle’s husband, Delbert, from whom she is separated, found out about the disappearance Sunday after retuning from a trip to California. Miracle makes weekly trips to California as a truck driver.
“We’re spending more effort in trying to find out what happened to these people.” Meyers said.
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