Investigation ongoing for Silverthorne police sergeant arrested on domestic violence charges |

Investigation ongoing for Silverthorne police sergeant arrested on domestic violence charges

Police records outline a pattern of controlling and abusive behavior according to the officer’s wife and witnesses

Joel Victor Ponedel, 37, turned himself in to the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday, Feb. 1, to be arrested.
Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office/Courtesy photo

Silverthorne Police Department Sgt. Joel Victor Ponedel, 37, was arrested earlier this month on charges of stalking, wiretapping, third-degree assault and harassment related to a reported domestic violence incident in late November 2021.

Following the allegation, Silverthorne Police Chief John Minor asked the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office to investigate, leading to Ponedel’s arrest.

According to the arrest affidavit from the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office, a Silverthorne Police Department officer first raised concerns with Minor on Nov. 23, saying Ponedel’s wife believed him to be abusive.

In the report, the officer said Ponedel’s wife had told her that she had a “safety plan” and “go-bag” prepared that Ponedel didn’t know about. The officer also said Ponedel allegedly kept the car keys when the couple was at home.

During a social event, the officer said Ponedel’s wife confided in her and got emotional, saying, “It’s been physical in the past.” The officer told Ponedel’s wife that she would have to report the abuse, to which Ponedel’s wife “begged and pleaded” with her not to, saying she was afraid how Ponedel would react.

Ponedel’s wife said she had previously disclosed much of the same information to the wife of another Silverthorne Police Department officer. That woman reportedly gave Ponedel’s wife a digital voice recorder to record any altercations or verbal arguments.

In a witness interview, the police officer’s wife, who provided the recording device, told officers that Ponedel deleted her number as well as her husband’s number from Ponedel’s wife’s phone. The police officer’s wife also said Ponedel’s wife had stayed at her home before due to various incidents with Ponedel. The last time this happened was Oct. 23.

In the interview, the police officer’s wife said she believed Ponedel tracked and monitored his wife through her phone because he would text her saying that he could see where she was and asked who she was with. Ponedel’s wife had also reportedly said her therapist gave her various victim’s advocate resources and encouraged her to report her abuse, which she said she was afraid to do.

When officers met with Ponedel’s wife, they reported that she got emotional, again saying she was afraid to report anything to the police. She told police Ponedel had threatened to take their 13-month-old son away from her.

She told officers that she had previously tried approaching Ponedel about a divorce, to which he reportedly said, “The only way you’re going to get out of this marriage is by 6 feet under.”

She told officers that she and Ponedel married April 2, 2019. During their courtship, she said she told Ponedel that she was interested in earning a nursing degree but that she wasn’t able to due to her immigration status. She said Ponedel married her so she could get her nursing accreditation. In December 2020, they had a son.

According to the report, she went on to tell officers that Ponedel was restrictive and suspicious of any of her friends and that her only friend was a co-worker. She also told officers that she works one day a week because Ponedel does not want her to have a full-time job.

The arrest affidavit indicated that officers were told Ponedel would frequently review his wife’s social media activity, call logs and text messages while she slept and that he would wake her up to ask about unknown phone numbers. The report stated that if she said it was spam or a wrong number, he would write it down and call the number. If the number belonged to a man, he would accuse her of cheating.

To avoid altercations with Ponedel, his wife said that she frequently had to delete calls and texts and that she communicated with her family in Spanish that he couldn’t understand.

When officers asked her about the physical abuse, she reportedly told them Ponedel had hit her a couple of times in her face. She also said she’s had bruising on her right arm from when Ponedel grabbed her. She said he would typically only hit her in places that were covered by clothing so as not to draw attention. She said the first time this happened was around when they got married. When she spoke with officers in December, she said the last instance of alleged abuse was about a month prior.

In an interview with the Summit Daily, Minor said that after he was made aware of the allegations, he launched an investigation into Ponedel and requested the internal affairs investigation. Through these, he said he wants the full picture of what happened to be revealed.

“Right now, in the affidavit, there was one side of the story,” Minor said. “It’s important that I preserve people’s due process rights, get the other side of the story in the internal affairs investigation, and then we will act accordingly based on the information that we find.”

The 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office investigation ultimately resulted in Ponedel’s arrest, but 5th Judicial District Attorney Heidi McCollum declined to provide the details of the investigation, citing the ongoing court process.

In a protection order, Ponedel has been ordered to vacate the couple’s home in Evergreen, and he’s restricted from communicating with his wife or any witnesses. He’s also restricted from possessing or purchasing firearms as well as consuming alcoholic beverages or controlled substances.

Ponedel has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the internal affairs investigation, which will be conducted by a third party. He is next due in Clear Creek County court at 2 p.m. March 1.

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