If you’re interested in researching information on the crime data and statistics regarding the number of murders in Colorado by year, you can easily find annual reports with crime statistics on the websites of multiple law enforcement agencies, both local and statewide. Additionally, the Federal Bureau of Investigation issues a Uniform Crime Report annually which shows the crimes, crime rates, and locations of crimes in every state, county, and city, including across the state of Colorado.
Looking further into the information and data shown in these reports, as well as on Project: Cold Case’s homicide statistics site, we can get a basic idea of how many murders both occur, and remain unsolved in Colorado. According to Project: Cold Case, there are around 2,931 unsolved murders in Colorado dating from 1980 to 2019. Looking further into this report, we can see that from 1965 to 2019, there were around 9,277 murders in Colorado. Since then, roughly 6,346 of those homicides were solved, sadly leaving around 2,931 unsolved murders in Colorado.
Some of the unsolved murders in northern Colorado include the 1999 murder of Renee Bina Munshi, the 1999 murder of Mary Lou Vickerman, the 1977 murder of Steven Kirk, and the 1979 double murder of Walter and Kimo Perry, among many others. Additionally, some examples of unsolved central Colorado murders include the 1991 murder of Ricky Allen, the 1987 murder of Sherry Boyd, the 1976 murder of Sharon Marie Copp, the 1991 murder of James Albert Hamm, the 1976 murder of Pamela Jean Bluemel, and the 2006 murder of Steve John Burton, among many others. In addition to this, some unsolved murders in Denver, Colorado, include the 1997 murder of Jeremiah Thomas, the 1989 murder of Mary Showman, the 1979 murder of Bonita Raye Morgan, and the 1974 murder of Diocela Espino-Simpson, among many others. Lastly, a few unsolved murders in Arapahoe County, Colorado, include the 1988 murder of John Cliborn, the 1995 murder of Jennifer Sue Larsen, the 1980 murder of Stephanie Ann Bauman, the 1990 murder of Gary Donald Johnson, and the 1970 murder of Marilee Burt, among countless others.
Unsolved Colorado Murders
As of this year, there are roughly 1,700 Colorado cold cases. Most, if not all, of the unsolved murders in Colorado can be found organized by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) cold case website. Other law enforcement agencies in Colorado, including both local and statewide, have their own databases or lists of unsolved homicides that they are currently investigating. Below are some of the cold cases shared on various Colorado law enforcement websites.
A few of the many northern Colorado unsolved murders that are listed on this website include the 1975 murder of Shiela Sawyer, the 1985 murder of Denise Davenport, the 1987 murder of Peggy Hettrick, and the 1996 murder of James Wesley Vooris, among countless others. Also among the list are the many unsolved murders Denver, Colorado, which include the 1997 murder of Jeremiah Thomas, the 1989 murder of Mary Showman, the 1979 murder of Bonita Raye Morgan, and the 1974 murder of Diocela Espino-Simpson, among others. Additionally, other unsolved murders Colorado included in the long list of cold cases are the many east Colorado unsolved murders. These include the 1997 murder of Byron Martin Bacus, the 1998 murder of Salvador Rivera Munoz, the 1993 murder of William Trimback, the 2003 murder of Kristen Titello, and the 2010 murder of Randall Wilson, among others.
More than 200,000 unsolved cases have gone cold since 1980, and murder clearance rates continue to drop. With equity for BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other underserved victims not prioritized in the true crime community—together we can do better.
Famous Colorado Murders
Most of the names on the massive list of murders in Colorado on the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s cold case website might not sound familiar, but you may recognize a few of the names on the list of Colorado murders, and notorious Colorado criminals have seemingly become household names as time passes. Some of the most infamous Colorado murders include the 1996 murder of JonBenét Ramsey, the 1984 murder of Mark Groezinger, the 2000 double murder of Nick Kunselman and Stephanie Hart-Grizzell, and the Watts family murders. Other famous mass murders in Colorado include the 1999 Columbine High School Massacre and the 2012 Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting, among other famous Colorado murders.
Homicide Rate in Colorado
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR) from 2019, the violent crime rate in Colorado is roughly 381 per 100,000 inhabitants. To further explain, this means that in 2019 alone, roughly 381 people per 100,000 residents of Colorado were directly impacted by violent crime. According to this same report released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the 2019 homicide rate in Colorado was about 5 per 100,000 residents. This means that in 2019, roughly 5 individuals per 100,000 residents of Colorado were killed.
Denver currently has a population of over 749,000 residents, making it the biggest city in Colorado. In 2018, the violent crime rate in Denver, Colorado, was roughly 730.08 per 100,000 residents, and the Denver, Colorado, murders rate in 2018 was around 9.02 per 100,000 residents. Although there is no way to know how many murders in Colorado 2021 yet, we do know how many murders in Denver, Colorado, 2021 thus far. As of June 10, 2021, there have been 32 homicides reported in Denver, Colorado. Many of the 32 homicides that have occurred in Denver this year have not been solved, and law enforcement continues to investigate the unsolved cases every day.
Arapahoe County Murders
Arapahoe County, Colorado, currently has a population of over 666,000 residents, making it the third largest county by population in Colorado. According to the State of Colorado’s government website, there are very few Arapahoe County murders, showing that there have only been 13 homicides in Arapahoe County since the beginning of 2016, which is unusual for such a highly populated area. In some murder cases, detectives are able to collect enough Arapahoe County murders evidence to charge someone with the murder and bring them to Arapahoe County murders trial. Evidence that is most often included in Arapahoe County homicide trials is completely dependent on the crime itself, taking the circumstances into account. For example, evidence shown in a homicide trial can range from blood, saliva, semen, skin cells, or other DNA evidence, to cell phone pings, to gunpowder residue, and most often includes Arapahoe County murders crime scene photos, to show the jury the area surrounding the crime as well as show the potential brutality of the crime or any other items of evidence found near the scene.
Denver, Colorado Murders
Due to the large and growing size and population of Denver, Colorado, murders are seemingly more common there than in a lot of other cities in Colorado. Unfortunately, many of the recent and decades-old murders in Denver, Colorado, have not been solved, and law enforcement continues to investigate their homicides with every resource available to them. As can be expected, until these murders are solved, Denver murders discussion continues on social media platforms such as Facebook, Reddit, and Websleuths, where people speculate and share details regarding Denver murders pictures, Denver murders crime scene photos, and Denver, Colorado, murders autopsy photos, which are usually not released until a trial comes to conclusion, and in some cases, are never released to the general public.
Recently, DNA technology has led to hundreds, if not thousands, of decades-old cold cases being solved and has brought forth new ways to not only compare DNA, but also conserve it so none goes to waste. Colorado is absolutely not the exception when it comes to advanced DNA technology solving some of Colorado’s cold cases. A few examples of cases where Denver murders DNA was used to solve or bring new detailed information to light include the 1980 murder of Helene Pruszynski, the 1979 murder of Evelyn Kay Davis, the 1963 murder of Margaret “Peggy” Beck, and the 1970 murder of Betty Lee Jones, among countless others in the rest of Colorado.
Colorado Serial Killers
Colorado has dealt with a surprising number of Colorado killers throughout history, although it has arguably dealt with more mass murders or spree killings than serial killers. Many of the most famous Colorado serial killers can be found on any top ten or other form of serial killer list, including list of serial killers in Colorado and Colorado serial killer list. The most famous of Colorado serial killers is Scott Lee Kimball, who was a criminal turned FBI informant turned serial killer. Another Denver, Colorado, serial killer is the “Denver Prostitute Killer,” who is thought to have killed between 17 and 27 women from 1975 to 1995, and has not been identified to this day. The final serial killer with known connections to Colorado is Gary Ridgway, who is also known as “The Green River Killer,” whose youngest victim was recently identified as Colorado native Wendy Stephens.
Crimes in Colorado
Multiple law enforcement and investigating agencies, including local, state, and federal, release yearly reports, which can be found on their websites, that show the crimes in any area around the United States. In this case, those reports share information regarding the various crimes in Colorado. Additionally, the Federal Bureau of Investigation shares a Uniform Crime Report every year which shares, in detail, the crimes, crime rates, and locations of crimes in every state, county, and city, in addition to a report for crime in Colorado.
Sadly, it seems there may never be an end to the number of Colorado homicide and true crime stories in Colorado as crimes, specifically murders, seem to rise every year in the state of Colorado. It can be assumed that law enforcement, like in many other states, may not be able to dedicate as much time as they would like to solving cold cases when murders occur as often as they do. According to Project: Cold Case, from 1965 to 2019 there were around 9,277 murders in Colorado. Over the years, roughly 6,346 of those murders were solved, leaving at least 2,932 unsolved murders in the state of Colorado alone. Regardless, the many different law enforcement and investigating agencies in Colorado will never stop attempting to solve all of Colorado’s true crimes, using any and every resource they have available to them.