On Sunday night in Cañon City, Colorado, a mother and her two young children were murdered in their home. The suspect is a 31-year old friend of the family, and thought to be the mother’s boyfriend.
The suspect, Jaacob Harding Vanwinkle, has been arrested and is being held for the deaths of the Cañon City woman and her two children.
The suspect is described as a family friend of the victims, said Sgt. Shannon Byerly, a Cañon City Police Department spokesman.
Police have not identified the 35-year-old mother and her children, a 5-year-old boy and 9-year-old girl. However, another daughter escaped murder, but was allegedly sexually assaulted by Vanwinkle, Byerly said.
The teenage daughter got away from the suspect, fleeing the home Sunday evening and making it to a neighbor’s house. They eventually called the police to the scene.
The suspect was taken into custody without incident at the home where the bodies were found, Byerly said.
Vanwinkle has been arrested on suspicion of three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of kidnapping, sexual assault, and sexual assault on a child by a person in position of trust. He was informed of the charges after his arrest, police said.
The teenager was taken to a local hospital, treated, and released.
The victims will undergo an autopsy this Tuesday.
The local school staff brought grief counselors to area schools for friends and teachers of the children, police said.
The Denver Post reported that Vanwinkle was sentenced in 2004 to four years in prison in Indiana for child molestation and vicarious sexual gratification. He received a two-year term in 2007 in Indiana for child molestation and, in 2012, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence in Fremont County, Colorado, where Cañon City is located.
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