Grand Junction – Mesa County officials investigating a quadruple homicide in the Grand Junction area reported Wednesday that two of the victims were shot to death before their bodies were thrown in the Gunnison River. Sources said drowning is suspected in the other deaths.
Sheriff Dick Williams said the Troy Miracle, 5, and his brother, Chad, 3, apparently died of gunshot wounds. Their bodies were found in the river Friday weighted with railroad irons.
Williams declined to say whether he knew what caliber bullet was used, from what distance the shots were fired or where on the bodies the wounds were.
The body of Mrs. Linda Miracle, 25, the children’s mother, was found in the river on Oct. 26. Six days later the body of her Grand Junction neighbor, Mrs. Patricia Botham, 25, was found in the river.
Williams declined to comment on how the women died, but informed sources said drowning is the suspected cause.
Ken Botham, the 29-year-old husband of Patricia Botham, said sheriff’s officers visited his house Monday and asked that he relinquish his .22 caliber revolvers.
Botham said he gave four revolvers to the officers and that they weren’t interested in any other firearms he had.
Williams said he believed all of Botham’s firearms had been confiscated. He declined to say whether weapons belonging to any other individuals were confiscated in connection with the murders.
According to Williams, investigators are looking into the possibility that the bodies were dropped in the river from a narrow bridge just upstream from where the bodies were found.
He said that a dark spot found on the bridge “which looks like blood” is being analyzed by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Although the women and children disappeared from their homes Aug. 23 police initially treated the matter largely as a missing persons incident, saying no foul play was indicated.
With the discovery of the four bodies, the sheriff’s office and the police department each assigned three men to the case, supplemented by two men from the CBI.
Botham also said in an interview Wednesday that Mrs. Miracle was the victim of a strangulation attempt several weeks’ before her disappearance.
He said the one night, shortly after returning from his work as vice president of an electrical ignition manufacturing firm, he heard her scream, and hurried across the street to her home where he found her gasping in the doorway.
He said he summoned a rescue squad and that she was taken to a Grand Junction hospital. Police reports document the strangulation attempt, but note that Mrs. Miracle provided no substantial information about her attacker.
Mesa County Dist. Atty. Terrance Farina said that a decision to release information regarding the cause of the children’s death was prompted by rumors that a gun was used, and community concern over whether the children suffered painful deaths.
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