Stalled Waldo Canyon fire investigation closer to 'cold' status

By Ryan Handy Published: June 23, 2013 | 12:00 am 0

The Waldo Canyon fire investigation is poised to become El Paso County's highest-profile cold case unless someone steps forward and leads investigators to the key missing piece - who ignited Colorado's most destructive fire a year ago.

Without that - or any decent clue - the investigation has stalled, said Colorado Springs Police Lt. Adrian Vasquez, who leads the investigation's task force. Investigators know where the fire started and are "pretty confident" about what ignited it. But thousands of tips have not led them to a person, or people, who lit it, accidentally or on purpose, Vasquez said. In the meantime, a $100,000 reward for the arrest of a culprit remains unclaimed.

Investigators are treating the case as a homicide because the blaze killed two people - William and Barbara Everett - and so after a year of no leads and little progress, the case should be shelved with other cold homicide cases.

But the Waldo investigation is a bit different, Vasquez explained. The team of investigators, which includes police officers and FBI agents, won't technically dub the case "cold" for another year or two, and they plan to review it monthly for years to come, if necessary.

Although resolution is not in sight, investigators have no intention of releasing more information, Vasquez said. Because it's a homicide case, a statute of limitations does not apply, he explained; investigators aren't required to release information about the crime until the case goes to court.

The tips that helped the most came shortly after the investigation was launched; others were mostly smoke reports, which have their use, Vasquez said.

But, at this point, resolution is out Vasquez's hands. He's waiting for that one tip.

"It could be 10 years from now; I'm hoping it's two months from now."

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