Grand Junction, Colo. – Outlets for the Morrow Point Dam on the Gunnison River have been closed to facilitate a search for clues in the murders of two Grand Junction housewives and one of the two women’s two small sons.
Their bodies were found in the river between Sept. 25 and Friday. Railroad irons were tied to all the bodies.
All four were badly decomposed, and the causes of death haven’t been determined.
Authorities said the river flow at the dam has been reduced to 100 feet per second and can’t be cut further because of irrigation and fishing commitments. There was no appreciable drop in the river Monday, apparently because of stream flow from tributaries between the dam and the search area, about 24 miles southeast of here.
Sheriff Dick Williams of Mesa County is seeking a complete shutoff of the river so investigators can walk in the river bed to search for clues.
Thje [The] victims have been identified as Mrs. Linda Miracle and Mrs. Patricia Botham, both 25, who lived across the street from each other, and Mrs. Miracle’s sons, Troy, 5, and Chad, 3.
The women were identified – Mrs. Botham positively and Mrs. Miracle tentatively – through dentistry work, Wiliams [Williams] said.
Mrs. Miracle’s body was found Sept. 25 and 15 miles southeast of here and about a mile south of a county road bridge. Mrs. Botham’s body was found Thursday about a half mile upstream. The bodies tentatively identified as the Miracle boys, were found Friday about 120 yards apart downstream from the bridge.
When they disappeared Aug. 23, Grand Junction police said the situation was suspicious but that there was no indication of foul play.
No extra clothing
Neither woman took extra clothing or the family cars. Prepared but uneaten food was on the table and a kitchen range burner was on in the Miracle home.
Mrs. Botham’s husband, Kenneth, found his sons, Thad, 2, and Ther [Thayer], 5, playing in the back yard when he returned home. Mrs. Miracle’s husband, Delbert, a truck driver, was on a trip to California and didn’t return until the next day.
The Miracles reportedly were separated, investigators said.
Williams said 21 investigators in addition to supervisors from his department, the Grand Junction Police Department and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation are working on the case.
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