Websleuths
Go Back   Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community > Crimes and Trials > Cold Cases

Notices

Cold Cases Discuss all cold cases here and sleuth out some new information!


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 07-28-2009, 08:28 AM
Armchair14 Armchair14 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 81
CO - Eric Hope, age 12, murdered in Lakewood, 1981 - Sexual Predator?

This one grabbed me as it seems to have gotten such little press; nothing remotely like that of JonBenet Ramsey, though it occurred in the same state. It was added to a cold case website by a Denver newspaper earlier this year, though with the scanty information that the police are apparently willing to share with the public, it is hard to see why they have made such an appeal to the public at all. Here is the link to the case on the website:

http://blogs.denverpost.com/coldcase...d-and-stabbed/

Apparently, the police have positioned this as a case of a sexual predator. Certain aspects of the case gives me pause for thought concerning that, though again, with such little information available it is difficult to form any conclusions on the subject. Here are my musings:

The motive was "apparently sexual." Was it definitely established that the boy had been molested or not? Was the body naked or partially clothed? Any DNA evidence available?

Did the scarf used to tie the boy's hands come from the house? If so, might that point to a spur of the moment impulse rather than a planned event? The murder weapon was never recovered. Were there any knives missing from the house?

Were the boy's hands tied effectively, so that when he had been alive he wouldn't have been able to free himself, or did it appear ineffective or decorative, like the JonBenet Ramsey case? If the latter, is there any chance the victim and perp had been playing a game of some sort and thus the victim was taken entirely by surprise by the first stabbing? If so, could it have been another juvenile? Perhaps an older child, a teenager?

What does "three suspects had access to the boy" mean? It makes the victim sound like an object, information or a prisoner. Does that mean there were three adults (presumably men) whom the boy would have routinely opened the door to?

Have all other (or additional) motives been ruled out? The presumed sexual motivation was intended to obscure another motive?

Why stabbed numerous times? Define “numerous.” Definitely overkill? Was the perp in a rage? At a kid??? Some personal malice held against the boy? (Might suggest another juvenile.) Some personal malice towards the boy's mother or father? The killing almost sounds ritualistic, like Abraham sacrificing Isaac. Religious dementia? Stabbed in the chest, not back. The perp wanted the boy to see it coming? Sadistic? Ritualistic?

Most likely (but not only) suspects in this sort of case would be the mother's boyfriends (parents divorced), if she had any. Was he or they conclusively ruled out? Schoolteachers (especially males)?

Were there any similar cases in the Denver area before or since?

After all this time, it might benefit the police to open their casebook to a reporter. Perhaps some armchair detective might be able to come up with an idea or two to benefit them. If the perp had been young or relatively young at the time, then he wouldn’t be ancient now. If the scenario that the police apparently favor is true, a sexual predator, then if still alive and free he might still be very much a threat to other youngsters.

Like just about anyone else, I’d love to see this monster brought to justice, but there's too little information here for anyone to be helpful beyond simply having heard of a conviction with a similar MO and has knowledge that the perp was in Denver during this time frame. There's too many unanswered questions. Does anyone have any additional information or thoughts on this tragic case? This boy seemed like a neat kid; mature and responsible, getting up early every morning to deliver newspapers. For his sake, justice needs to be served.

Last edited by Armchair14; 07-28-2009 at 08:48 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 07-28-2009, 12:09 PM
Lyn1001 Lyn1001 is offline
In constant need of a nap
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 1,602
The one thing that stood out to me in the article was that his mom didn't check on him when she got home. Door closed or not, I cannot imagine not checking on my child, especially if the child has been home alone. I wouldn't worry about disturbing the child, I would just want to make sure my child was safe and sound. I guess if it was routine, you can be lulled into a false sense of security..... But honestly, my mom still makes me call to tell her I made it home safely, and I'm a married adult with a child myself! I've actually gone out with some of my girlfriends and not gotten back until the wee hours of the morning, but I still check in on DD. DH is home with her, as she's still a toddler, but I still check to make sure she's okay. I can't imagine not doing that.

It seems odd that there was no sign of forced entry. I would guess there were no signs of a struggle either, if the mom wasn't worried when she got home that night. I wonder if there were any signs of a struggle in his bedroom or if there were any signs someone else had been in the house, like an extra glass out or something.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Lyn1001 For This Useful Post:
  #3  
Old 07-28-2009, 12:44 PM
Armchair14 Armchair14 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyn1001 View Post
The one thing that stood out to me in the article was that his mom didn't check on him when she got home. Door closed or not, I cannot imagine not checking on my child, especially if the child has been home alone.
I thought the same thing, but I'm sure the woman feels badly enough. I doubt it would have much mattered at that point and, like you said later in your response, it's possible that they had just settled into a routine and she wasn't thinking. The way the article reads concerning the background of the mother and child, the boy seemed like a kid who wouldn’t stand being “babied,” at least from his perspective.

I do wonder, however, when was the last time the mother had spoken with her son. Had she called him from work? Being home alone, one would think she routinely would have done so at least once a night.

In the article it is stated that the police had asked the mother to go back to the house to see what if anything seemed out of place as you suggested, but no details are provided in the article.

As also stated, the Denver police just don't want to seem to give all that much information out. The Lakewood police seems more willing to provide more details of the later (1991) case I referenced that might (or might not) be related. I wonder if the two police departments ever investigated to see if there might be some link between the two killings, with or without their apparent prime suspect having been involved in the later case.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Armchair14 For This Useful Post:
  #4  
Old 07-28-2009, 01:28 PM
Lyn1001 Lyn1001 is offline
In constant need of a nap
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 1,602
I do wonder why they are putting some information out in public, but do not seem very forthcoming. I can't imagine after over 20 years that it would be very detrimental to the case to divulge some details. There are so many different scenarios that are possible from the small amount of information they've given.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Lyn1001 For This Useful Post:
  #5  
Old 07-28-2009, 06:47 PM
Armchair14 Armchair14 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyn1001 View Post
I do wonder why they are putting some information out in public, but do not seem very forthcoming. I can't imagine after over 20 years that it would be very detrimental to the case to divulge some details. There are so many different scenarios that are possible from the small amount of information they've given.
I'm afraid you're right, Lyn. There are so many possible scenarios with the limited information supplied. I just went through some of them as speculation. I just hope that one day the police crack the case. Imagine how this little fellow felt in his final moments. Imagine how his mom felt the next morning; his dad shortly afterwards.

By the way, I'm from nowhere near Denver and have only been there for brief flight stopovers. Therefore, I know nothing about its geography. Would anyone from Denver here know how close is the area of Denver where Eric Hope lived (1269 Fairfax St.) to Lakewood? I read that Lakewood borders Denver, so this address might be within spitting distance for all I know, or on the other side of town.

Thanks.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 08-08-2009, 05:51 PM
Armchair14 Armchair14 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 81
Well, this note and case has generated little interest which is, unfortunately, understandable. Given the scanty information provided on the denverpost.com cold case page, any thoughts on catching this monster, if still alive, or at least solving the case if not, would amount to rank speculation. I do have a theory, though without more details it would be useless to discuss it. Sometimes I think the police play matters too close to the vest. After twenty-eight years, what would they have to lose by putting out significantly more information from their casebook?

Aside from the horrendous nature of thIs child’s murder, what moved me about the case is that it seems so lonely. Although not stated, it would appear as if Eric had been an only child, or at least his mother’s only one. His parents had been divorced, and I have no idea if his father had remarried. Whereas many other pages on the paper’s online cold case feature have numerous comments, some by family members of the victims, remarks on Eric’s page have been few and scant of content. I don't even know if his parents are still with us.

I hope to write a human interest article on Eric Hope and his murder, perhaps to submit to the Denver Post for publication on the next anniversary of the crime. However, it is senseless to attempt such without more information that I could add to the cold case account already up. I advertised on Craig’s List for anyone who might have known Eric and his mother. Should anyone here who happens to see this note have known the boy or his family, please contact me through the CL ad at:

https://post.craigslist.org/manage/1299236198/hs2xt

I’m just looking for accounts of what Eric and his family had been like; what else he might have enjoyed and where they were from originally.

Thinking about this boy’s final moments is painful, even for someone who never knew him. The article states that he was a kid who insisted in being afforded as much independence as possible. To this seemingly supremely self-confident youngster, what he had been facing in his final moments must have seemed incomprehensible to him. He doesn’t appear to have been a kid who had been much acquainted with the feeling of being helpless.

I hope and pray they get this monster one day. Do get him!

Last edited by Armchair14; 08-08-2009 at 05:56 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 08-08-2009, 08:07 PM
Boyz_Mum's Avatar
Boyz_Mum Boyz_Mum is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 5,169
From Eric's address to Lakewood is 11.6 miles- according to Mapquest. It's a 24 minute travel time. I would consider it spitting distance.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 08-09-2009, 08:06 AM
cymster's Avatar
cymster cymster is offline
"I could be a genius if I just put my mind to it"- JC
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Norway
Posts: 799
Lakewood is VERY close to Denver.. less than 24 minutes (highways are speedy) to downtown Denver. So I second the 'spitting distance'.....
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to cymster For This Useful Post:
  #9  
Old 08-09-2009, 10:06 AM
Evan's Mom's Avatar
Evan's Mom Evan's Mom is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 1,017
My first thoughts upon reading this thread went straight to Johnny Gosch and the fact that he was a paperboy too.
I'm sure the two cases are not related, but I've noticed more than a few cases involve children that were paperboys.
__________________
"Life's splendor forever lies in wait about each one of us in all its fullness, but veiled from view, deep down, invisible, far off. It is there, though, not hostile, not reluctant, not deaf. If you summon it by the right word, by its right name, it will come."
- Kafka
"Know the right moment."

What I type here is mostly my opinion.
I really don't care if my opinions offend.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 08-09-2009, 10:33 AM
Boyz_Mum's Avatar
Boyz_Mum Boyz_Mum is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 5,169
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan's Mom View Post
My first thoughts upon reading this thread went straight to Johnny Gosch and the fact that he was a paperboy too.
I'm sure the two cases are not related, but I've noticed more than a few cases involve children that were paperboys.
That's who I thought of too.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 08-09-2009, 01:32 PM
Armchair14 Armchair14 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 81
Thank you for the geographical information regarding the Denver area. I have suggested my theory of the crime to someone in a position to pass it on to the Denver PD. I don’t know, and will probably never know, if he did pass it on or simply blew it off. At this stage, I don’t see what they would have to lose by simply checking it out. It wouldn’t be very difficult to do so and if it proves tenable, then at least they could stop focusing anywhere else while trying to put together evidence to nail the creep.

The article states that the motive was "apparently sexual.” It does not state whether or not the body had been clothed. I would guess the boy at least had a shirt on. If not, that would greatly weaken my theory, though not absolutely rule it out. You can probably guess what I’m getting at when one reads within the article that there had been no signs of forced entry. It would seem a safe assumption that neither had there been any signs of a struggle. If there had been, then Eric’s mother would have certainly checked in on him immediately.

I am not familiar with the Johnny Gosch case. However, I think that the reason why paperboys are often targets is because they are out alone early in the mornings. I live in a major city and our sole remaining morning paper stopped using kids years ago, which might be a good idea all over. However, in Eric’s case, I doubt that his having been a paperboy had any major relevance. The perpetrator was almost certainly someone who knew that the boy was often home alone at night and thus a target of opportunity. It also seems extremely likely that the boy knew his attacker and might have even considered himself on friendly terms with him. This makes the lack of a resolution of the case all the more puzzling, especially if the perp fit the classic profile in cases of this sort.

Fortunately, most pedophiles are not killers. Those that are kill for the quite rational (albeit evil) reason of silencing their victims. This perp, as evidenced by his apparent orgy of raging overkill, seems as if he has psychotic tendencies as well. That, combined with the fact that he almost certainly knew the victim, strengthens my theory in that I could see why the police might have overlooked one possibility which is strengthened by the fact that the murder occurred on a Friday night in October.

Would a typical 12-year old kid want to be home alone on a Friday night during the school year? Would Eric have allowed someone in without his mom’s knowledge? Perhaps by prearrangement? If so, what sort of person?

It is also strengthened by the profile of the victim. One of his classmates at the time described Eric as having been shy. Shyness is often mistaken for aloofness which often connotes arrogance to others. This, combined with the level of independence granted the boy at such a young age and his seeming maturity, earning money with his paper route, might well have engendered a sense of conflicting jealousy/infatuation in another. The boy was also reasonably nice looking and perhaps excelled at sports.

As a normal kid his age, none of this would have occurred to Eric. He just thought of himself as a kid like any other. His killer was very bright and successfully obscured his feelings from the victim with an outwardly cool patience, obscuring the inner turmoil. Eric Hope never saw it coming...until it was too late. Even then, he wouldn't have understood.

Last edited by Armchair14; 08-09-2009 at 03:08 PM.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Armchair14 For This Useful Post:
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
NC NC - Neely Smith, age 5, murdered 1981, - Suspect: Fred Howard Coffey Jr. Richard Cold Cases 93 04-09-2013 07:44 AM
Police in Lakewood Co looking for sexual assault victims!!! believe09 Crimes in the News 6 11-08-2010 09:54 PM
Suspect in 1981 Fort Myers murder apprehended (in Lakewood, CA) JoeFromLB Crimes in the News 1 07-05-2010 11:07 PM
At age 13, is boy a sexual predator? hoppyfrog Crimes in the News 41 10-18-2007 01:23 PM


© Copyright Websleuths 1999-2012 New To Site? Need Help?
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.1
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:21 AM.

Advertisements

Pre-Order Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony today!