Colorado

Jul 8, 2010 7:23 PM by Zach Thaxton

Deputies: Kiowa Teacher's Death Considered a Homicide

Elbert County Sheriff's Office investigators say they're treating the death of a popular Kiowa High School teacher as a homicide investigation.  The announcement was made at a press conference in Kiowa on Thursday morning.

Randall Wilson, 52, was found dead in a field off the Kiowa-Bennett Highway north of Kiowa the afternoon of June 14.  A plastic bag had been placed over his head and his hands were bound behind his back, according to Elbert County investigators, who also revealed asphyxiation was the official cause of death.

Wilson was last seen alive at around 10:45 p.m. on July 13 at a Conoco gas station along I-70 in Bennett, around 30 miles north of Kiowa.  Surveillance video at the Conoco shows Wilson in his white 2006 Toyota Camry.  It also shows a man and woman in an older-model, dark-colered Volkswagon.  Investigators believe they may be the last people to see Wilson alive and have sought them for questioning, but say they do not consider them suspects.  The female occupant has been identified and interviewed and investigators are seeking her male compaion.  "Just based on the video surveillance, they were two people in the same area at the same time," said Lt. Joseph Winkel.  "I don't believe a conversation was struck between either one of the parties."  Winkel stated that it appears Wilson may have been targeted or may have known his killer.  "I don't believe this is a random act of violence," he said.

Investigators are looking into whether Wilson had any sort of conflict with anyone in the time leading up to his murder.  Rumors of Wilson's possible involvement with a married woman were refuted by Lt. Winkel.  "This is unfounded and untrue at this time," he told members of Denver and Colorado Springs media.

Residents in Kiowa say Wilson's death has been the talk of the small town for weeks.  "It is a small town and everybody is very close out here," according to LeAnn Goetz, owner of Barr Bear Country Cuts & More.  "I hope that they can get some closure and so everybody in town is more relaxed and we can kind of move forward."

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Elbert County Sheriff's Office at 303-805-6110.

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