Colorado man sentenced to life for 1982 cold case hitchhiker murders
11/08/2022 11:40 am PST
PARK COUNTY, Colo. (TCD) -- A 71-year-old man convicted in two 1982 cold case murders was recently sentenced to life in prison.
Barbara Oberholtzer, 29, was last seen hitchhiking near Breckenridge, Colorado, on Jan. 6, 1982. The next day, her body was found in a snowdrift on the summit of Hoosier Pass, about 11 miles away.
The second victim, Annette Schnee, 21, was also last seen hitchhiking in the same area on Jan. 6, 1982, though the two women were not traveling together. Schnee’s body was found six months later, fully clothed, in a rural area creek in Park County, in July 1982.
Both women were reportedly shot.
In 2020, multiple law enforcement agencies developed new information "with genetic genealogy to identify a potential suspect in the case," and investigators were able to confirm that Alan Phillips, a retired mechanic, was tied to the murders, KUSA-TV reports. His DNA reportedly matched blood found on Oberholtzer’s glove.
In early 2021, arrest warrants were obtained for Phillips. He was reportedly arrested during a traffic stop near his home on Feb. 24, 2021, and initially charged with two counts of first-degree kidnapping, two counts of first-degree assault, and two counts of first-degree homicide.
In a news release, the Park County District Attorney’s Office announced that Phillips was convicted of kidnapping and first-degree murder on Sept. 15, more than 40 years after the murders.
A few months after the conviction, on Nov. 7, the Park County Sheriff’s Office said Phillips faces two life sentences.
In a statement, Park County Sheriff Tom McGraw said, "We are happy to have this case and conviction for the public and families involved."
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