Nov 30, 2013 10:26 PM by Tony Spehar - firstname.lastname@example.org
The Pueblo County Sheriff's Office confirmed on Saturday that three people found dead in a burning home in Rye on Wednesday morning died from gunshot wounds, their deaths have been ruled as homicides and a nationwide manhunt is underway to find the man accused of killing them.
Reginald Tuttle, 51, Kim Tuttle, 55, and their daughter Dawn Roderick, 33, were found dead in their home on the 8200-block of Highway 165 by firefighters. A passerby noticed the house was burning and called 911 at around 10 a.m. on Wednesday. Heavy fire and exploding ammunition forced firefighters to try and extinguish the flames from outside the home, which ended up burning into Thursday morning.
"All three victims had extensive fire injuries, on the preliminary autopsy examination it was also identified that all three died from multiple gunshot wounds," explained Pueblo County Coroner James Kramer.
When investigators were able to get into the heavily damaged home on Thursday they determined the fire had multiple points of origin and it was ruled as arson. They also removed the victims' bodies and autopsies were performed on Friday.
"It appears as though the victims were shot while they slept multiple times resulting in their death," described Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor. "It would also appear that the motive for the crime is probably financial."
The only suspect in the case is Harry Mapps, 59, who had been renting a room in the home until a week before the fire and worked for Reginald Tuttle's trucking company. According to Sheriff Taylor detectives found that Mapps cashed two forged $4,000 checks bearing the victims' name in Pueblo and La Junta on the morning of the fire.
"I know that there were some issues with Mr. Mapps living there (the Tuttle home), I don't know what those issues were," Taylor explained. "I knew that he subsequently was going to be asked to move out and maybe already had been."
Though the case is horrifying, Sheriff Taylor said it could've been much worse. Thankfully Dawn Roderick's children were in Pueblo with their father at the time of the murders.
"Just by the grace of God that her three children were not there with her at the time or we'd be looking at six deaths," Taylor said.
Investigators don't believe Mapps is in the area of Pueblo County, a nationwide manhunt is underway. Arrest warrants have been issued for Mapps on charges of identity theft, theft over $5,000 and forgery. Police and federal agents across the country will be looking for the man accused of committing a brutal crime and a quiet, tight-knit town.
"I knew two of the victims very well as a kid growing up, this is not any more personal than it would be if it was another citizen in Pueblo County, but you know the fact that it was in my hometown we're going to do everything we can to bring him to justice," Sheriff Taylor explained.
Mapps is considered armed and dangerous, he is believed to be driving and possibly living in a blue 2004 Chrysler Town and County minivan with Texas license plates 7-FSNK. He is 6-feet tall, 135-pounds, has red hair and blue eyes with a grey beard. Anyone who sees him is asked to call 911 immediately.