Thursday, January 28, 2016


Thanks to commenter dean0 for giving me a heads up about a big break in the case of Mike Rust, missing from the northern part of the San Luis Valley since March 2009. 
Kirk Mitchell of the Denver Post reports online here on January 14, 2016, that Saguache County Sheriff's office and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation are looking into a set of human skeletal remains found about five miles east of Mike Rust's home near Saguache. 
"The discovery of a bicycle-sprocket belt buckle amidst human bones told family members of a mountain biking pioneer all they needed to know.
"We believe the remains of our brother have been found.  The belt buckle was very unique.  I've never seen another one like it," said Fountain Hills resident Karl Rust of bones he believes are those of his brother Michael Damian Rust."
This blog reviewed the early details of the Rust disappearance in July 2012 in a post entitled "Yet Another Missing Person in the San Luis Valley"
Mr. Rust went missing after apparently finding evidence of a fresh break-in at his home and phoning a friend that he was taking off after the culprits.  A vest with blood was found along with the broken handle of a hand gun Mike had obtained as a memento of his brother following his brother's death. The motorcycle Rust was believed to have been riding was later found about 20 miles east of his home, pushed off a cliff into a remote ravine.  Blood was found on the vest and also on the foot peg of the motorcycle.
Now, almost seven years later skeletal remains have been found in the sparsely populated area between U.S. Highway 285 and Colorado Highway 17 in the northern part of the San Luis Valley. A unique belt buckle identified by his brother as belonging to Mike was found along with the remains.  Confirmation of identity is pending, but all signs point to this being Mike's remains. 
We would like to offer our best wishes to the surviving friends and family of Mike Rust and hope that this new discovery leads to information that will answer the question of what happened to him seven years ago. 
Meanwhile, the curious disappearance of Jack Gordon remains unsolved with no new information.  Jack disappeared from his off-grid home near Fort Garland in October 2008, about six months before Mike disappeared.  Perhaps one day someone will stumble upon his remains and we will get our own answers.
R.I.P Michael Damian Rust

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

To Save Us All From Ruin- Sample Chapter

The following is an excerpt from my new book, a novel based loosely on my Dad's WWII diaries.  It is available on Amazon in paperback and for the Kindle, or from the Create Space e-store
CHAPTER 1- To Save Us All From Ruin
“My father had a Randall knife, my mother gave it to him.
When he went off to World War II to save us all from ruin.”
               -songwriter Guy Clark, The Randall Knife.
January 1942- The Muldoon family farm, NE Colorado
The sun rose on a clear and crisp eastern Colorado day in mid-January 1942.  As Seamus Muldoon leaned his tired head against the flank of yet another milk cow, his mind began to wander.  He stripped the teats rhythmically making the frothy white milk sing a tinny tune as it sprayed against the inside of the shiny milk pail.  Bessy (or was this one Flossy? Or Bossy? Seamus could never keep their names straight) munched placidly on the hay in front of her.  It occurred to Seamus that for the last month the cows had been setting up their early morning ruckus earlier and earlier each day.  The shortened days of winter seemed even shorter when the cows dragged you out of bed at “oh-dark-thirty”.  His father’s words echoed in his memory, every winter morning milking session since Seamus was knee high to a Guernsey his father had cracked the same tired joke.  “Hoo boy, it’s colder than a well digger’s ass, and twice as dark!”  Seamus usually thought to himself at those times, “Yeah, how would you know?” Seamus knew better than to give voice to those irreverent thoughts however.
Of course, the old man had not been joking much this past month.  His jawline had been set in an attitude of grim determination ever since early December when the news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor had come.  The entire family had huddled around the radio in the living room waiting for “a momentous address from the President” as the surprisingly chipper-sounding announcer had put it.  The president’s sonorous baritone voice intoned over the usual faint crackle of static.  “Yesterday, December 7th, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”

Saturday, January 3, 2015


On December 31, 2014 the Del Norte Prospector reported that the jury in the murder trial of Daniel Bessey has returned a verdict of guilty. Bessey faces as much as 232 years prison sentence.

It remains to be answered whether Bessey may have been involved in the brutal murder of Brenda Kay Shepard in Saguache in September 2008.  There has been speculation to that effect, but no charges were ever filed by Saguache County authorities.   

Another odd coincidence is the short time period between the murder of Shepard in late September 2008 and the disappearance/murder of Jack Gordon on October 2, 2008.  Is it possible that a man on the run for one crime inadvertently came into contact with Jack Gordon and panicked?   While we do not know of any connection between the two victims, perhaps there was a connection between the two suspects.  Did Daniel Bessey know John Busby (aka John Robert Fureigh)?  We just don't know.  These are avenues of investigation for the authorities to continue to probe.  

  As always anyone with knowledge regarding the murder of Brenda Kay Shepard or the disappearance/murder of Jack Gordon is encouraged to contact either the Saguache County Sheriff or Costilla County Sheriff.  Or leave a message for the blog administrator of this blog.

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Rest In Peace
John Salazar
Sarah Janay Beasley

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


     This week in the national news, we hear of the ambush shooting of two NYPD police officers.  Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot and killed while sitting in their patrol car on duty.  Ismaaiyl Brinsley then turned his gun on himself when cornered by police in pursuit.  Brinsley reportedly had a prior criminal record.

     In state news, the pre-trial maneuvering in the case of the Aurora theater shooter continues.  James Holmes is charged in the mass shooting that resulted in 12 dead and over 50 wounded in 2012. There is little room for doubt of his guilt, and in fact his own parents, in a letter to the Denver Post implicitly acknowledge that he committed the shooting and should be locked in a psychiatric institution for life.  “He is not a monster. He is a human being gripped by a severe mental illness.”  I can understand parents going to great lengths to help their adult children, but even parental tolerance has its limits.

     In local news, the prosecution rested late last week in the trial of Daniel Bessey, accused of murdering two Monte Vista residents back in 2012.  Bessey had initially been a person of interest in the case but was not charged.  He fled the state and was later apprehended in Oklahoma and returned to Colorado for trial.

     In personal news, the man suspected of killing Jack Gordon had a prior criminal record, was living under an assumed name as a non-registered sex offender in violation of terms of his prior conviction and received material aid from his mother before eventually leaving the state in the wake of Jack Gordon's disappearance.  It must really be galling to live with the constant knowledge that someone will drop a dime on you and that it could happen at any time.  I don't know, this is all just speculation.  Maybe he will whisper a confession in the wrong ear at the wrong time in a drug-fueled haze of self pity and remorse.  Maybe an under-aged tranny hooker will get tired of his boozy breath and rat him out.  Maybe mom or stepdad's tolerance will run out. Maybe they will blame his actions on mental illness.  After all, he is not a monster...

*   *   *   *   *
     Columnist Kevin Williamson writes this morning in National Review Online in an article titled "What Causes American Murders".  He makes the point that attempting to assign political motivation, or for that matter any particular motivation to a criminal such as Brinsley misses the larger point of the type of people who commit violent crime in America. 
If we could eliminate all the American murders rooted in political ideology, there would be (almost) no effect. If we could eliminate all the American murders committed by people with prior criminal records, there would be (almost) no murder. The relevant question in the matter of Ismaaiyl Brinsley isn’t what he was doing on Instagram but what he was doing on the street.

     Jack Gordon wasn't murdered because of his political beliefs.  He was murdered because a murderer determined that Jack's life was worth less than his own.  But some would say he's not a monster. 

Monday, December 15, 2014


There was some news last month about the Paige Birgfeld case.

Lester Ralph Jones, 63, was arrested in Grand Junction on November 21, 2014 at his workplace. He had been named as a person of interest at the time of the original investigation into Paige Birgfeld's disappearance in 2007.  In 2012 her body was discovered in a gulch near Delta, CO.  Here is a link with more details about the arrest.  Jones has been identified as a client of Paige Birgfeld's escort service.

  Interestingly, investigators had obtained a court order for a GPS tracking device to be placed on Jones' car, but he discovered the device and returned it to investigators at some point in the intervening years.

   Jones has been charged with two counts of murder (first and second degree) and additional charges of arson and kidnaping.

[UPDATE TO ORIGINAL POST-- Denver Post Cold Case reporter Kirk Mitchell gives a detailed review of the facts of the case and the key pieces of the police investigation in his column at the Denver Post.]

   Sometimes the wheels of justice turn slowly, and the case still awaits trial, but it is good to know that there has been some movement in this highly publicized case.  Hopefully the person responsible for Jack Gordon's death is still looking over his shoulder as well.