Two former Fort Carson soldiers, third man tied to 2001 slaying
COLORADO SPRINGS ” Two former Fort Carson soldiers and a third man have been arrested in the 2001 slaying of a University of Colorado at Colorado Springs freshman suspected of being a drug informant, police said Monday.
Patricia Ann Elliott, 19, was found dead in the bathtub of her north Colorado Springs town home in April 2001, police said. After police began re-interview people last year, one of the suspects, Benjamin David Gunvalsen, 25, told police that Elliott was hit in the head with a 2- or 5-pound dumbbell before the men took turns trying to strangle her, according to court documents.
After being hit in the head, Elliot asked the men: “Why are you doing this?”
An autopsy indicated she died of head injuries.
Ryan Krueger, 29, and Gunvalsen, 25, were arrested Friday in Colorado Springs, police said. Christopher Allen, 27, was arrested in Nevada, where his is facing extradition to Colorado .
Krueger and Allen face first-degree murder charges, while Gunvalsen faces a charge of being an accessory to a crime, police said.
Court documents indicate prosecutors agreed not to charge Gunvalsen with murder in exchange for his testimony. Krueger promised Gunvalsenand Allen $10,000 for their help in slaying Elliott but instead only paid them $1,000, according to court documents.
Allen, of Pahrump, Nev., and Gunvalsen, of North Ridgeville, Ohio, were soldiers at Fort Carson at the time of the slaying. Krueger is from Colorado Springs.
The three had been identified as suspects within days of the killing after police learned that Elliott told friends she was supposed to meet her drug source the day she was killed, court documents stated.
“We never stopped looking at them _ just didn’t really have enough at that time to arrest and have a successful prosecution,” said Colorado Springs police detective Derek Graham.
Police said Elliott, who had been dealing drugs, including methamphetamine, ecstasy and marijuana, bought drugs from Krueger who became suspicious of Elliott.
“She didn’t deserve to die like that, no matter what she was doing,” Connie Elliott, Elliott’s mom said. “You can’t go back and raise your child any differently. You try to do the best you can, try to instill the best values. There’s no vaccination that will ensure they will do the right thing out on their own.”
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