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Annette Schnee and Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer killings: How a pair of orange socks connected two Colorado cold case murders committed on the same day in 1982

The day after Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer disappeared in January 1982, her physique was discovered on the facet of a snowbank on Hoosier Pass — 10 miles exterior Breckenridge, Colorado. She had tragically been shot. Six months later, the physique of Annette Schnee was additionally discovered, about 10 miles south in a desolate space — mendacity face down in a stream. She had additionally been shot. As “48 Hours” contributor Natalie Morales stories, the thriller of what occurred to those two younger ladies would hang-out their households and investigators for years. 

BOBBIE JO OBERHOLTZER

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: Every day that I made this drive and bought to see all the surroundings, and the sunrises and sunsets, and particularly from the high of Hoosier, it is like “I am so lucky to live here.” 

But for 40 years, the towering, craggy Rockies exterior Breckenridge, Colorado, held a darkish and silent secret: the unsolved murders of Annette Schnee and Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer. They would outline the career of now Park County Detective Sergeant Wendy Kipple.  But again in 1982, when each ladies have been killed —

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: I used to be a senior in highschool, doin’ highschool teenage stuff. … We have been simply mainly footloose and fancy-free … and by no means giving the first thought that one thing might occur to us.

It was an angle from one other time — a feeling Wendy shared with Bobbie Jo.

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer was any individual that I feel I’d’ve been mates with. 

Natalie Morales: How a lot is she missed by her household?

Laurie Merlo: Rather a lot. Still.

Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer
Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer

Jeff Oberholtzer


Laurie Merlo’s reminiscence of massive sister Bobbie Jo is frozen in these gentler instances.

Laurie Merlo: One of the finest issues that ever occurred in my life was bein’ her youthful sister.

Natalie Morales: How do you describe her?

Laurie Merlo: A free spirit. Loving particular person. 

Jeff Oberholtzer: Very fairly. … , fell head over heels for her.

Natalie Morales: You fell arduous.

Jeff Oberholtzer: Yeah. Yeah. I did.

Jeff Oberholtzer and Bobbie Jo dated for a few years earlier than making it official in 1977.  And quickly, the newlyweds from the Midwest headed for the mountains.

Jeff Oberholtzer: Colorado was calling, .

They’d name the city of Alma, half an hour south of Breckenridge, “home.”

Jeff Oberholtzer: Yeah. … Just gave the impression to be the place to be. You know? … Us hippies.

Natalie Morales: You have been a hippie again then?

Jeff Oberholtzer: Oh, positive.

Natalie Morales: Yeah. And was Bobbie Jo a hippie too?

Jeff Oberholtzer: Oh yeah.

Jeff and Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer
Jeff and Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer

Jeff Oberholtzer


Jeff opened an equipment restore business; Bobbie Jo labored for a actual property company in Breckenridge. She’d usually hitch a journey to work. Back then, many individuals did.

Jeff Oberholtzer: People would search for you … They noticed you standing by the facet of the street, they’d choose you up.

Still, Jeff knew hassle may very well be only one journey away. So, he had handmade Bobbie Jo a secret weapon.

Jeff Oberholtzer: It was a giant brass clip, very heavy, with a giant brass ring connected to it. And it was made for self-defense.

On January 6, 1982, it was bitter cold with snow in the forecast. Bobbie Jo hitched to work, the place that same afternoon she’d be pleasantly shocked with a job promotion. She known as Jeff with the excellent news and advised him she deliberate to rejoice with mates after work and can be residence quickly.

Jeff Oberholtzer: OK … Everything’s good. 

But when Bobbie Jo wasn’t residence by midnight, Jeff bought frightened, and drove to the residence of the mates Bobbie Jo had been celebrating with.

Jeff Oberholtzer: Woke ’em up, requested them, , the place Bobbie was, in the event that they knew. And – she did not know.

Natalie Morales: And it wasn’t like her to not come residence?

Jeff Oberholtzer: Oh, in no way.

Jeff went to the Breckenridge Police Department however was advised it was too quickly to file a lacking particular person’s report. So, he headed again to Alma — alone.

Jeff Oberholtzer: The telephone rang I take into consideration a quarter to eight … It was a rancher … He had discovered her driver’s license and some of the contents of her pockets blowing in his driveway. … Oh, oh. Then I knew one thing was horribly unsuitable.

Jeff and some mates all headed in direction of the ranch the place Bobbie Jo’s license had been discovered.

Jeff Oberholtzer: That’s once I noticed her backpack out in the snow. … And I bought out of the car and went by the snow … that is when I discovered her glove — in the snow. And, uh, it was lined in blood. And, oh –

A bloody tissue additionally lay in the snow. But nonetheless no Bobbie Jo. Jeff went again to their home. And mates headed up Hoosier Pass — the route Bobbie Jo normally took residence.

Jeff Oberholtzer: They went up with cross-country skis to the move. And they discovered her physique.

Oberholtzer murder evidence
The giant brass hook key ring that Jeff Oberholtzer made for Bobbie Jo to make use of if she ever wanted to defend herself. 

Evidence


Now investigators joined Bobbie Jo’s mates, spreading out throughout the stark panorama. Bobbie Jo’s brass key ring, with the hook, was discovered in the car parking zone.

Jim Hardtke: … that her husband Jeff Oberholtzer had put collectively for her to make use of as a weapon if she wanted to.

Former Colorado Bureau of Investigation Agent Jim Hardtke was at the crime scene.

Jim Hardtke: The different merchandise that was discovered up there … was an orange bootie … like an ankle sock. … It did not belong. … It did not match something connected with Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer.

And off the facet of the street, in the grim shadows of the mountains, lay Bobbie Jo.

Jim Hardtke: The physique was frozen. … She was absolutely clothed … Her arms have been shut collectively.

Site where Bobbie Jo was found
Investigators at the crime scene after Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer’s physique was found on the facet of a snowbank on Hoosier Pass, about 10 miles exterior of Breckenridge, the place she was final seen.

Evidence


One hand had been zip-tied.  And Hardtke believes Bobbie Jo had been shot at shut vary in the chest.

Once a free spirit, the lifeless 29-year-old was positioned in a bag. Jeff pleaded to look.

Jeff Oberholtzer: They unzipped the bag. And — (his voice breaks) it was my Bobbie Jo (cries).

Natalie Morales: Did you could have any concept who might have finished this to your spouse?

Jeff Oberholtzer: None.

But Jeff’s tears weren’t what cops have been in search of.

Natalie Morales: When did police name you in and say, “We have some questions for you?”

Jeff Oberholtzer: Maybe the — the subsequent day or so.

Jim Hardtke: I advised him he is the primary suspect.

LOCAL NEWS REPORT: Evidence up to now signifies the lady could have been attempting to flee into the bushes when she was gunned down.

But the investigation was about to turn out to be a lot extra sophisticated when police discovered of the disappearance of Annette Schnee, who vanished the very same day as Bobbie Jo.

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: They in all probability simply handed one another and did not even know … they’d be connected.

 “ANNETTE IS MISSING”

The first inkling Cindy French had that her massive sister Annette was lacking, got here when her mom answered the household’s previous rotary phone.

Cindy French: I heard her on the telephone, I heard her begin to cry … and I stated, “What’s wrong?”… And she stated, “Annette is missing.”

All the police might inform the household was that Annette Schnee had vanished. The information appeared inconceivable. Only 21 years previous, Annette had left the household’s residence in Sioux City, Iowa, a year earlier and gave the impression to be thriving in Colorado. She had two jobs — housekeeper by day and cocktail waitress by evening.

Cindy French: She was mates together with her roommates, and the folks that she labored at the Holiday Inn at have been her mates that she would speak about fairly incessantly to mother.

Annette Schnee
On January 8, the day after Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer’s physique was found, a coworker of 21-year-old Annette Schnee reported her lacking. Investigators discovered that she was final seen in Breckenridge round 4:30 p.m. on January 6, simply hours earlier than Bobbie Jo went lacking. Annette additionally usually hitchhiked.

Family of Annette Schnee


And it was a buddy from work who reported Annette lacking. It was January 8, 1982 — the day after Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer’s physique was discovered. As quickly as older sister Karen Riessen heard the information, she rounded up family members and headed to Colorado.

Natalie Morales: what have been you considering might’ve occurred to her in that second, not understanding?

Karen Riessen: Knowin’ she hitchhiked, we figured any individual picked her up. Yeah. We have been all hopin’ she was nonetheless alive. You know, you do preserve that hope. But in the again of your thoughts, you are in all probability thinkin’ not. But you do not wanna assume that.

As investigators tracked Annette’s final actions, they found she had really disappeared the same day as Bobbie Jo. But the twist was that Annette vanished hours earlier than Bobbie Jo. 

Jim Hardtke: Annette was final seen … at about 4:30 in the afternoon … in Breckenridge.  Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer was final seen in Breckenridge at about 7:30 in the night.

From the outset, former CBI Agent Jim Hardtke suspected the two circumstances may be connected.

Jim Hardtke: It was — a fairly all-out effort to seek out … any info from anybody.

Investigators discovered that after Annette left her job at the Holiday Inn on January 6, she had visited a physician’s office and then hitchhiked to a drug retailer in Breckenridge.

Natalie Morales: So, she went in to get some medicine?

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: She went in to get some medicine … She was speaking to a lady that we have by no means been in a position to establish. And that was the final time she was seen.

Cindy says not understanding the particulars of Annette’s disappearance haunted their mom. 

Cindy French: I do know Mom would simply say, “I just wanna know why, how? You know, that’s all I want to know … nobody can give it to me. Nobody knows why or how.”

And in a unusual flip of occasions, Jeff Oberholtzer, already a suspect in his personal spouse’s homicide, advised police when and the place he thought Annette’s physique may be positioned.

Natalie Morales: How would that?

Jeff Oberholtzer: I’ve all the time had completely different premonitions all my life … I had advised them that I felt that she’d be discovered … 4 miles … from my home … on the Fourth of July.

Natalie Morales: That’s fairly particular.

Jeff Oberholtzer: Yeah. And it wasn’t far off … that positive made me look fairly unhealthy.

In reality, when Annette’s physique was found almost six months after she vanished, Jeff’s premonition turned out to be scarily correct. She was discovered on July 3, 1982, a day earlier than Jeff’s prediction, and her physique was roughly seven, not 4, miles from Jeff’s home. It was a younger boy who got here throughout the crime scene.

Charlie McCormick: He was fishing and discovered her. Reported it to his dad, and the dad known as … the sheriff’s division.

Charlie McCormick, a personal investigator employed by the Schnee household, says Annette was mendacity face down and absolutely clothed in Sacramento Creek, about 23 miles from the drug retailer the place she was final seen.

Charlie McCormick: She’d been shot as soon as in the again … Exit wound, entrance, on a downward angle of about 30 levels.

Natalie Morales: So, what does that inform you?

Charlie McCormick: It may very well be … she was on her knees … Could be she was working … downhill away from … the one that shot her.

Authorities suspected Annette may need been sexually assaulted.

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: Evidence kinda signifies that … her clothes was discovered in disarray.

Jim Hardtke: Her blue denims’ zipper was damaged. We consider that the footwear have been on the unsuitable ft when she was discovered.

Former CBI Agent Hardtke attended Annette’s post-mortem and his eye was drawn to one thing that may eternally change the course of the investigation.

Bootie sock found with Annette Schnee
Even although Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer and Annette Schnee disappeared on the same day, their circumstances weren’t linked till Annette’s physique was found six months later. She was carrying an orange sock, pictured. Investigators had discovered her different orange sock close to the physique of Bobbie Jo, and they knew then that the ladies nearly actually have been killed by the same particular person. 

Evidence


Jim Hardtke: On her left foot I seen an orange bootie. And in my thoughts, I’m remembering the orange bootie that was discovered at the high of Hoosier Pass … very near the place Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer’s physique was discovered.

Jim Hardtke: And … I’m saying, “Holy s***. This is superb. This ties … the circumstances collectively.

Up till that time, Hardtke says investigators by no means knew what to make of that orange sock or bootie from the Bobbie Jo crime scene. 

Jim Hardtke: It was only one of these mysterious issues that you just choose up at a crime scene.

Kipple believes Annette lost her orange sock in the killer’s car and there it remained till hours later when he picked up Bobbie Jo and attacked her.  

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: She jumps out, and when she jumped outta the truck, the orange sock will get kicked out of the truck.

And that sock was not the solely piece of proof discovered on Annette’s physique. In the pocket of her jacket, they found a business card with a acquainted identify: Jeff Oberholtzer.

Jeff advised police he recalled giving Annette a journey in November 1981 when she was out hitchhiking. Jeff says that, at the time, he was selling his equipment restore business with these playing cards.

Jeff Oberholtzer
Jeff Oberholtzer

CBS News


Jeff Oberholtzer: I gave them to everybody.

Natalie Morales: So, now police know that you just had met Annette.

Jeff Oberholtzer: Yes.

Natalie Morales: Did that add to their suspicion?

Jeff Oberholtzer: Oh sure.

Natalie Morales: Jeff, did you could have something to do with the homicide of your spouse, Bobbie Jo?

Jeff Oberholtzer: Not a factor. Nothing.

Natalie Morales: Did you could have something to do with the homicide of Annette Schnee?

Jeff Oberholtzer: Nothing. No.

Despite now being connected to two murdered ladies and having that very correct premonition. Jeff ultimately was cleared. His blood kind didn’t match the blood discovered on Bobbie Jo’s glove and the close by tissue. And, as advances have been made with DNA technology, Jeff’s DNA was not a match.

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: I advised him, I stated, “Jeff, in my book, you’re not a suspect.”

But after almost 40 years, might DNA assist establish the actual killer in the murders of Bobbie Jo and Annette? Early in 2020, Kipple and her staff determined to strive and discover out.

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: And I stated, “Let’s try this genealogy thing … maybe it can work for us.”

She despatched the DNA pattern generated from the Bobbie Jo investigation to United Data Connect. The Denver company runs crime scene DNA profiles by publicly accessible genealogical databases. 

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: On January 9, 2021, I get a telephone name from the genealogist, says, “I have two more names for you.” And one of these turned out to be the one.

A SUSPECT AND A DNA MATCH

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: I knew from the begin this was gonna come right down to DNA.

In January 2021, Park County Detective Sergeant Wendy Kipple bought a name about these new DNA check outcomes, and it turned on the market was not one, however two attainable matches for blood discovered on Bobbie Jo’s glove and that tissue that have been recovered again in 1982.

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: I’ll always remember the day I bought that telephone name — and I bought these names.

Natalie Morales: And what have been the two names you got?

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: Alan Phillips and Bruce Phillips.

Alan Lee Phillips, then-69, and his older brother Bruce Phillips. Kipple reached out to Bruce first.

According to Kipple, Bruce stated he by no means lived in Colorado, however that his brother – from whom he was estranged – had. And when Kipple dug deeper, she found that not solely had Alan Phillips beforehand lived simply exterior Breckenridge and labored in a native mine —

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: Alan Phillips nonetheless lived close by. … He had his personal mechanic store. And he was nonetheless right here.

Alan Phillips had been married thrice and had a daughter and two stepsons. Kipple needed to be taught extra about his previous.

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: When I checked out his legal historical past, it confirmed that he had been arrested in 1973 for assault and housebreaking … And that simply kinda set off all kindsa crimson flags.

So, she got down to discover the arrest file. But she was met with lifeless finish after lifeless finish. The courts had no report of the case; neither did the DA’s office.

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: I knew I needed to discover that case file. So … I went over to the archives for the sheriff’s office … there was a fireplace … and a lot of them have been destroyed.

But Kipple was undeterred. She says she combed by tons of of packing containers and submitting cupboards, discovering nothing, till — 

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: I get right down to the final submitting cupboard.

Natalie Morales: Are you kidding me? The final one?

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: The final submitting cupboard. … And even right down to the … second to the final drawer … Halfway again I see this tab, says, “Alan Phillips.”

Natalie Morales: Wow.

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: I used to be like, “This is it. This … is our golden egg, right here.”

oberholtzer-14.jpg
Alan Lee Phillips had been convicted of assault and housebreaking in 1973 — nearly a decade earlier than Bobby Jo and Annette went lacking — and served six months behind bars. The police report from that incident included this reserving photograph of the then 22-year-old Phillips. In a  signed confession, he admitted to choosing up a lady who was hitchhiking in Breckenridge and bodily assaulting her by an empty cabin. 

Park County Sheriff’s Office


In that police report from July 1973 — almost a decade earlier than the murders of Annette and Bobbie Jo — Kipple discovered a signed confession from Phillips, then simply 22 years previous, explaining how he attacked a younger lady.

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: The first sentence reads, “I saw a woman hitchhiking on the south edge of Breckenridge, and I stopped and gave her a ride over to Fairplay.” And then he goes on and describes what he did to her.

What Kipple learn was chilling. Phillips stated that he “stopped at an empty cabin” alongside the street … “pulled the girl from the Jeep” … and then “picked up a rock” and used it to “hit her several times.”

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: When I noticed that first sentence I used to be like, “This is him. This is our guy.”

Incredibly, the younger lady – who did not need her identification revealed – was in a position to persuade Phillips to let her go, and later reported the incident to police.

Natalie Morales: Did he say in that confession why he did it?

Sgt. Wendy Kipple: He did not know. He advised her, “I don’t — I don’t know why I do this.”

Natalie Morales: I imply, that provides — makes your pores and skin crawl.

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: Yeah.

Phillips was convicted of assault and housebreaking and served six months behind bars. Kipple additionally discovered that Phillips’ identify had come up in reference to the double homicide again in 2005, when an nameless caller gave a tip to Crimestoppers. Investigators checked it out. But based on Kipple, the lead went cold when the info could not be verified. But now, Kipple was assured she was on the verge of nabbing a killer who had eluded them for many years. There was just one factor left to do.

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: We needed to get surreptitious DNA. That’s what we would have liked.

Natalie Morales: So, you are in search of something … he is throwing out –

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: Anything.

In late January 2021, Kipple and her staff started secretly surveilling Phillips. It turned out acquiring a pattern of his DNA wasn’t simple.

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: He would not throw something away. He did not even throw out his rubbish.

Natalie Morales: Where did he put his rubbish?

Sgt. Wendy Kipple: I do not know.

That wasn’t the solely problem.

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: This man’s sort of a hermit. He stays at residence. He would not work together with individuals an excessive amount of.

Finally, after 5 weeks, there was a break. Phillips left his residence and went to a Sonic Drive-In.

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: We’re all, like, sitting there, watching and watching. And he will get his meals, eats, and then he leaves. I’m like, dang it, he did not throw his trash away.

Alan Lee Phillips DNA evidence
Alan Lee Phillips’s DNA was pulled from saliva on a serviette in a quick meals unhealthy ]Phillips discarded in publish office trash can.

Evidene


So, Kipple and her staff adopted Phillips as he drove to a publish office. He walked in carrying the Sonic bag, however on the means out, he was solely holding mail. The second Phillips pulled away, investigators recovered that all-important bag from a trash can.

Sgt. Wendy Kipple: It’s like, (sighs) “OK, (laughs) this might be it.”

Natalie Morales: That bag was, like, gold.

Sgt. Wendy Kipple: It was like gold.

The bag was taken to a lab, the place Phillips’ DNA was pulled from saliva on a serviette.

Natalie Morales: And what have been the outcomes?

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: It was Alan Phillips’s blood that was on Bobbie Jo’s glove and that Kleenex.

KCNC NEWS REPORT: Nearly 40 years after the murders of two ladies close to Breckenridge, investigators make an arrest in this cold case.

Alan Lee Phillips arrest
Alan Lee Phillips was arrested on February 24, 2021.

Park County Sheriff’s Office


Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: I bought to place the handcuffs on him. … And he was shocked.

Natalie Morales: Really —

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: The look of shock on his face is simply priceless.

Alan Lee Phillips was initially charged with two counts every of first-degree murder, kidnapping and assault. He denied any involvement in the crimes. For the households of Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer and Annette Schnee, it was a second almost 4 a long time in the making — one they thought may by no means come.

Laurie Merlo | Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer’s sister: That was a shock. … the means that they have been in a position to get the DNA to seek out him … and catch him was superb.

Karen Riessen | Annette Schnee’s sister: Truthfully, I did not assume it might occur in my lifetime.

Cindy French | Annette Schnee’s sister: It was simply mind-blowing, jaw-dropping. I did not know what to assume.

Natalie Morales: Was it, like, reduction … , too?

Karen Riessen: Yes, a reduction and … you are completely happy however but it would not take the harm away.

But the surprises did not finish there. In one other unusual twist, after Phillips’ arrest, a native man recalled a harrowing story of how he helped rescue Phillips from a snowstorm the very evening of the murders.

Sgt. Wendy Kipple: When I heard this story … my thoughts was blown.

THE RESCUE OF ALAN LEE PHILLIPS

On January 6, 1982, simply hours after Bobbie Jo and Annette have been murdered, an airline passenger seemed down at Guanella Pass from a aircraft flying overhead and noticed lights flashing. He recalled it was SOS — a name for assist. It got here from the driver of a truck stranded in a raging snowstorm.

Dave Montoya: His rear finish sunk in the snow. So, his headlights have been pointed up.

Dave Montoya was a native fireplace chief at the time who additionally labored in the native mines.

Dave Montoya: And lo and behold, right here comes the aircraft. He sees it, flashes, “SOS, SOS.” Well, he did not know if anybody noticed him or not. But he took the likelihood. Well. Somebody did see him.

Natalie Morales: Up in the sky.

Dave Montoya: Yeah.

The passenger notified the pilot, who radioed down the approximate coordinates to dispatchers on the floor.

Dave Montoya: So, I used to be down there. I had my radio with me … So, I stated, “let me go check it out.”

Natalie Morales: What have been you considering as you are driving?

Dave Montoya: I’m considering “who does that?” I believed it was a vacationer. I believed, “That crazy tourist. He got up here and now he’s gonna ask us all to save him. “

montoya-morales.jpg
“48 Hours” contributor Natalie Morales with Dave Montoya.

CBS News


But when Montoya arrived at the scene, he noticed it wasn’t a vacationer. It was somebody he knew: a man named Alan Phillips.  

Dave Montoya: And he comes working down and he says, “Man, am I glad to see you.” And I says, “Alan, what the hell are you doing here?”

Natalie Morales: You knew who he was?

Dave Montoya: I knew who he was. … as a result of I labored with him in the mines. … He says, “Well, I got drunk. And I decided to come home, and I didn’t wanna go on the highway to get caught. So, I went over the pass because the cops ain’t there.”

Natalie Morales: Did you occur to note something about him at the time?

Dave Montoya (runs a finger over the high of his proper eye): Yeah, he had a massive previous lower proper right here on the eye.

Montoya says when he requested him how he bought the damage, Phillips stated he hit his face on his truck.

Dave Montoya: I kinda laughed. I stated, “Boy you are really stupid.” 

Newspaper articles on murder and rescue
Stories of Alan Lee Phillips’s rescue made the native newspapers. One even appeared adjoining to a story about Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer’s physique being discovered.

Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph


Montoya says Phillips refused medical therapy and he dropped him off close to his residence. He gave an oral assertion to police about the incident. That week, native newspapers reported the uncommon rescue and included a photograph of the then 30-year-old Alan Phillips.

Dave Montoya: If I woulda identified what I identified then, I in all probability woulda left him.

Montoya would solely be taught in 2021 after Phillips’ arrest that he was probably concerned in the murders of Bobbie Jo and Annette.

Dave Montoya: Who — who has luck like that? I — actually? You commit two murders, you get caught up at the high of a move attempting to flee the scene and all the pieces else, and you get caught the place you are in all probability gonna die and you ask for mercy, and you get it? God gave him the mercy, however he says “You’re not gonna get away forever. You got your mercy, but you gotta pay.”

Alan Philips could have escaped again then, however now 40 years later, his destiny can be in the arms of a jury.

On August 31, 2022, Alan Lee Phillip’s double homicide trial started in Fairplay, Colorado. Annette’s sisters and brother flew in from throughout the nation to be there.

Cindy French: We needed to guarantee that the household was represented … You know? That when the jury seems over, you need them to see the involved — not leftovers, however the left behinds.

At instances, seeing Alan Phillips in courtroom was painful for Annette’s sister Cindy.

Cindy French: I used to be disgusted. You bought to dwell 40 years of your life. You took my sister … to see him sit there so emotional-less — no emotion in anyway, simply very stoic, was very irritating.

Natalie Morales: Because of the DNA match did you assume that is a slam dunk in a trial?

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: To me a slam dunk, however to attorneys they’ve methods … to make it not appear to be such a slam dunk.

And that is what Alan Phillips’ protection staff got down to do. They would question the validity of the DNA and different proof and as an alternative blame Jeff Oberholtzer for murdering his spouse and Annette Schnee — despite the fact that he had been cleared by investigators years earlier than.

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: They pointed the finger at Jeff each step of the means. … it is so maddening as a result of that is not the place the proof led to.

When Jeff took the stand, the protection was relentless.

Cindy French: They raked him over the coals — and like he hadn’t been by this for the final 40 years.

Jeff Oberholtzer: They undoubtedly needed to place the crimes again on me — the murders again on me. … It was fairly painful.

The protection claimed Jeff had motive to kill his spouse … They stated he was indignant at Bobbie Jo as a result of the day earlier than her homicide she introduced residence cold pizza … Jeff had advised investigators about the pizza years earlier …. 

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: I kinda discovered that a little bit ludicrous. … I could not fathom Jeff killing Bobbie Jo over a cold piece of pizza!

And the protection questioned Jeff about his weird habits. Like when he advised investigators about that premonition he had about the place and when he thought Annette’s physique can be discovered — particulars the protection argued solely the killer would most definitely know.

Natalie Morales: This may very well be seen as fairly damning to some. Right?

Jeff Oberholtzer: And so, it was. … I simply tried to inform the fact and — and answer the questions.

Oberholtzer murder evidence
At the time, nobody knew the DNA from this proof can be vital to fixing the thriller of her demise – and that of one other younger lady – nearly 40 years later. 

Evidence


And what about the DNA proof in opposition to Alan Phillips? Hoping to create cheap doubt, the protection claimed proof had been tampered with and mishandled all through the years.

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: There was some contamination. … It wasn’t identified, “Oh, I have to be careful and wear gloves, so I don’t get my DNA on that item.” … But the backside line is … the blood that’s on Bobbie Jo’s glove, and the tissue … was Alan Phillips blood. How do you clarify that?

The prosecution stated there was a easy rationalization: Alan Lee Phillips was the one, and the just one, who murdered Bobbie Jo and Annette.

Natalie Morales: I imply, what are the odds that it may very well be anyone else?

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: On the glove, it was one-in-17 quadrillion, which is 2,275,000 instances the inhabitants of the Earth.

Natalie Morales: Wow.

Phillips’ DNA was discovered on Bobbie Jo’s belongings, says Kipple, solely as a result of Bobbie Jo fought for her life and precipitated him to bleed.

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: She was a fighter … and with out her being a fighter we would not have the DNA that we would have liked to resolve this case.

Annette Schnee, left, and Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer
Annette Schnee, left, and Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer

And what about these orange bootie socks? DNA testing performed months earlier than trial revealed that Annette’s DNA was on the inside and Bobbie Jo’s DNA was on the exterior of that orange bootie sock discovered on Hoosier Pass not removed from Bobbie Jo’s physique.

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: So that ties (claps her arms) each ladies to that one sock.

But regardless of the sturdy DNA proof in opposition to Phillips, investigator Charlie McCormick was involved. Would the means DNA was challenged by the protection confuse a jury?

Charlie McCormick: Are they going to purchase it. Are they going to know it?

After two weeks of testimony, the case lastly went to the jury. Jeff and Sgt. Kipple have been nervous.

Natalie Morales: Were you frightened the jury is gonna have cheap doubt?

Jeff Oberholtzer: I felt that that was attainable. 

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: There’s all the time doubt. There’s all the time doubt, ‘trigger that there is in all probability one juror that may grasp up everyone. And — and you by no means know.

SEEKING JUSTICE

Natalie Morales: Tell me what it was like for you ready for the verdict?

Laurie Merlo: Pins and needles.

On Thursday Sept 15, 2022, the households of Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer and Annette Schnee anxiously awaited the jury’s resolution. Was Alan Lee Phillips responsible, or not responsible?

Cindy French: It simply takes one — one juror that did not consider it.

The ready was the hardest half says Detective Sergeant Kipple. Thankfully, the jury saved it brief.

Det. Sgt. Wendy Kipple: Four hours and 45 minutes.

The jury’s verdict on eight prices, together with two counts every of first-degree homicide, felony homicide and kidnapping: responsible as charged.

Karen Riessen: He’s gonna get what he deserves now … oh, and I simply could not consider it was taking place. I used to be so completely happy.

Natalie Morales: Tell me about the feelings you have been feeling as the verdict was learn. “Alan Phillips, guilty.”

Jeff Oberholtzer (sighs): I feel I let loose a sigh.

For Jeff Oberholtzer, justice had lastly been served, and a long time of suspicion decisively lifted.

Jeff Oberholtzer: And there was a nice (sighs) weight lifted f — from my shoulders

Karen Riessen: We hugged and stated, , we have been completely happy for him, and for us, and that it was over –

Cindy French: Over for everybody.

Karen Riessen: Over for everybody.

Alan Lee Phillips sentencing
On September 15, 2022, a Park County jury discovered Alan Lee Phillips responsible of two counts every of first-degree homicide, felony homicide, and kidnapping.  A bit of over seven weeks later, he was given two consecutive life sentences for the murders of Annette Schnee and Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer.During the sentencing, Phillips’s lawyer advised the courtroom that his consumer maintained his innocence and has been wrongfully convicted. 

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Alan Lee Phillips confirmed no emotion. But his daughter did.

Karen Riessen: His poor daughter cried. I felt unhealthy for the household, ‘trigger … What they have been goin’ by needed to be unhealthy. … ‘Cause they in all probability needed to consider, , that he did not do it.

“48 Hours” reached out to the Phillips household and authorized staff for interviews, however all of them declined our requests. A bit of over seven weeks later, Phillips was again in courtroom for sentencing. His legal professional insisted that his consumer had been wrongfully convicted.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: He maintains his innocence … and he maintains that the unsuitable man is being sentenced.

But Judge Stephen Groome wasn’t persuaded and handed down two consecutive life sentences with out the chance of parole. He then addressed the households of Annette Schnee and Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer.

JUDGE STEPHEN GROOME: I want you the finest and hope the therapeutic begins immediately.

But it appears that evidently justice for Annette and Bobbie Jo is probably not the finish of this story. Some investigators consider that the case in opposition to Alan Lee Phillips will not be but closed.

Natalie Morales: There’re a lot of lingering questions, however the one predominant one is: are there extra victims? What do you assume?

Charlie McCormick: Short answer, sure. … I feel … there are a number of that — he actually might qualify for.

Natalie Morales: There’s simply no proof to show it?

Charlie McCormick: Not but.

While investigators carry on, two households nonetheless wrestle.

Jeff Oberholtzer: You know, when you give somebody your love, you may by no means take it again. And it — I do not need to. … There’s a particular place in my coronary heart and Bobbie will all the time be there.

Laurie Merlo: I used to be cheated out of 40 years with out my sister. … we might nonetheless be the finest of mates immediately if she was nonetheless right here.

Cindy French: He took a actually good particular person away from this world, and … it saddens me that we cannot ever get to know the way she was when she was 30, or when she was 40, or 50.

And as a result of Allen Lee Phillips maintains his innocence, they nonetheless have yet one more agonizing question.

Cindy French: Why, ? “Why did you take these two beautiful girls?”

In honor of Annette and Bobbie Jo, Annette’s sisters and brother determined to go to the place the younger ladies have been murdered.

schnee-cross.jpg
In honor of Annette and Bobbie Jo, Annette’s sisters and brother determined to go to the place the younger ladies have been murdered and to thank Bobbie Jo for  for preventing again.

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They have been there to thank Bobbie Jo for preventing again and inflicting Allen Lee Phillips to go away behind his DNA.

Russell Schnee | Annette’s brother: Without her we would not be right here.  

Karen Riessen Nope.

Russell Schnee: Thank you, Bobbie Jo.

Karen Riessen:  Yes, thanks Bobbie Jo.

At the place the place Annette’s physique was discovered, they delivered a lengthy overdue message to their sister.

Russell Schnee: Well Annette, they caught him. He’ll be in jail for the relaxation of his life. Allan Phillips. Just needed you to know.

Karen Riessen: Love and miss you.

If you could have any details about different attainable victims who may very well be related to Alan Lee Phillips please attain out to the Park County Sheriff’s tip line at 720-248-8387.

Produced by Chris Young Ritzen. The growth producer is Elena DiFiore. The present can also be produced by Jamie Stolz, Paul LaRosa, Betsy Shuller and Judy Rybak. Richard Barber is a producer editor. David Dow is a growth producer. Lauren Clark is the area producer. Michael Loftus is the affiliate producer. Marlon Disla, Mike Vele, Diana Modica and Marcus Balsam are the editors. Anthony Batson is the senior broadcast producer. Nancy Kramer is the govt story editor. Judy Tygard is the govt producer.

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