A Colorado triple homicide has led to the arrest of Jaacob Harding Van Winkle, 31, who has a criminal history as a sex offender. The man was reportedly a family friend of the three victims who were a 35-year-old mother and her two children aged nine and five, according to a Yahoo! News report on Tuesday. He was at the home when the three bodies were found on Sunday in Canon City.
Authorities went to the home after a teenage daughter in the home had been sexually assaulted and escaped to a neighbor’s home for safety. There, she called the police. The charges that followed for Van Winkle were sexual assault, kidnapping, and three counts of first-degree murder. He was arrested at the home where the murders occurred without incident.
Van Winkle previously served several prison terms in Indiana on child molestation charges as well as having pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence in Colorado two years ago. He was also questioned in the death of his landlord in Whiteland, Indiana in 2011 but was never charged in that case because the autopsy results were inconclusive.
Van Winkle, according to Judge David Thorson, could get life in prison without parole or the death penalty.
Van Winkle’s name is spelled “Vanwinkle” in some court documents.