The Colorado Bureau of Investigation recently tied the two 1984 cases together through a DNA match, said Steve Davis, spokesman for the Lakewood Police Department. The match has not yet been tied to a specific person, Davis said. But this John Doe will be charged with 18 counts, including three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of sexual assault, first-degree assault and two counts of sexual assault on a child and burglary.
On January 10, 1984, the suspect tied to both cases used a hammer to strike 50-year-old Patricia Louise Smith several times in the head in her Lakewood home. Six days later, the same man snuck into the home of Bruce and Debra Bennett. He bludgeoned and stabbed Bruce to death and raped and killed both Debra and their 7-year-old daughter Melissa. The killer also shattered the face of 3-year-old Vanessa, who survived.
Police went to great lengths to solve the case, removing part of the concrete garage floor to preserve a shoe print. A laser was used to get fingerprints from inside the home. Police had also found similarities between the attack at the Bennett household and nearby random attacks that happened days earlier along the Highline Canal and Alameda Avenue corridor.
Detectives are asking construction workers who were working on new residences near the Alameda Avenue corridor in January 1984 to call them.
Learn more about the murder of Patricia Louise Smith on Lakewood’s cold case website.
Learn more about the Bennett family murders on Aurora’s cold case website.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Aurora Police Detective R.J. Wilson, the lead investigator on the case, at 1-303-739-6106 or the Lakewood Police Cold Case hotline at 1-303-987-7474. Read more here.