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Unsolved: Five homicides in less than a year in Fremont County

Posted at 6:09 PM, Sep 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-26 21:06:04-04

FREMONT COUNTY – Major crime is on the rise in Fremont County. The shooting death of 30-year-old Jonathan Kern makes it five homicides in the county in less than a year. Kern was shot in the small town of Cotopaxi over the past weekend.

Five homicides is not typical for Fremont County Sheriff’s Office investigators. In a year, two is considered a lot for the small county. Crime numbers overall are not up in the county, the concern is the increase in more serious crimes. “Not necessarily statistically that many more cases, we’re seeing the type of the severity of the cases increase,” said Interim Sheriff, Ty Martin.

All five of the homicide cases remain unsolved. Jerry Hoglan was killed in November of 2017. The body of the 53-year-old was found along the Arkansas River near Texas Creek. Then in February, the body of local artist John Alderman was found.  In May, the body of 77-year-old Kenneth Orchard was found during a house fire. Loa Kennedy, who was 74 years old, was found dead in her home in June. The shooting death of Jonathan Kern is the latest homicide.

There are no arrests, but investigators say work is still happening on all the cases. “The investigation unit following leads, doing interviews, actively investigating,” said Undersheriff Megan Richards. The number of cases slows the process for the single Investigation Unit in the small county. “We’re working on one then something else happens,” said Richards.

There is an assist from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. The CBI labs are an important aid. There also has to be patience. CBI helps communities across the state, so it common for a backlog requiring a wait for results from the crime lab. “I’ve seen a year and a half, up to two years to get a result back,” said Martin.

Fremont County Sheriff’s Office investigators want the public to know none of the cases are cold.