Dumont man serving 2 life sentences for 1982 murders near Breckenridge dies 6 months after his conviction | SummitDaily.com

Dumont man serving 2 life sentences for 1982 murders near Breckenridge dies 6 months after his conviction

After escaping culpability for nearly 40 years, Alan Lee Phillips was found guilty last fall of murdering two hitchhikers near Breckenridge in 1982.

Alan Lee Phillips, 71, of Dumont, was found guilty Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, for the murder of two hitchhikers in 1982.
Colorado Bureau of Investigation/Courtesy photo

The Dumont man convicted of murder last year after investigators reopened a cold case from 1982 has died in prison, according to Crowley County Coroner Gary Gibson.

Alan Lee Phillips, 72, died Feb. 27 at the Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility in Ordway, Gibson said. Foul play is not suspected, and the results of an autopsy are pending, he said.

Phillips’ death comes less than six months after a Park County jury on Sept. 15 found him guilty of the murders of Annette Schnee, 21, and Barbara Oberhotzer, 29, who had been hitchhiking near Breckenridge. A judge sentenced him to two consecutive life sentences on the first-degree murder and kidnapping charges of which he was found guilty. 

Oberhotzer had been found dead on Jan. 7, 1982, near Hoosier Pass with a bullet wound through her chest along with a zip tie around her left wrist. A tissue, bloody glove and her backpack were located 7 miles north of Fairplay.

Then, six months later, Schnee was found dead a few miles from where Oberholtzer’s body had been found. Schnee was found face down in Sacramento Creek in Park County with a gunshot wound through her back.

Alan Lee Phillips, now 70, was arrested in February 2021 in connection to the killing of Barbara Jo Oberholtzer and Annette Kay Schnee in 1982.
Colorado Bureau of Investigation/Courtesy photo

Both were reportedly hitchhiking separately from Breckenridge before their disappearance, and evidence in both cases included a pair of orange socks, one found on Schnee’s body and the other found near Oberholtz’s body.

On Jan. 9, 2021, the case went from cold to active after United Data Connect, a Denver-based forensic genealogy service, identified two possible matches from the evidence — Phillips and his brother.

Investigators monitored Phillips for nearly two months, searching for DNA gleaned from napkins, food scraps, and trash that he may have discarded, according to past Summit Daily News reporting. Police eventually recovered Phillips’ DNA from a Sonic bag in 2021 and matched it to DNA obtained from blood on Oberholtz’s glove.

Oberholtz reportedly carried “a big brass hook” with her for self-defense while hitchhiking, and investigators say Phillips was found with a gash on his head when he was rescued from a snowdrift on Guanella Pass, the same night the girls disappeared.

Police arrested Phillips Feb. 24, 2021, during a traffic stop. He had been working in Clear Creek County at the time as a semi-retired mechanic and living in Dumont less than 20 miles from where the bodies were found, according to past Summit Daily News reporting.

Phillips first became a suspect in the case in 2005, after police received an anonymous tip, but investigators did not find a connection at the time, the lead investigator on the case previously said.

Editor’s note: Summit Daily News reporter Ryan Spencer contributed to this report.

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