The body of an 82-year-old woman who was reported missing four years ago by concerned relatives has been found in a trash bag hidden in a manhole at her home.
Sylvia Frens from Grand Junction, Colorado, was reported missing on May 29, 2018, the Grand Junction Police Department said.
But her son Richard Vandervelde told police that his mother went to California with a friend.
Without a new address and no activities on social media, police determined Frens was dead but the investigation into her disappearance remained open.
On March 22, detectives obtained a warrant to search the property after new homeowners reported finding a trash bag stuffed in a manhole.
Detectives found the body inside the bag. Officers confirmed Fren’s identity and said she died from a blunt force trauma to the head.
On May 19, her son Vandervelde was arrested and charged with six felonies and one misdemeanor. He’s been charged with first-degree murder, identity fraud, tampering with a deceased human body, abuse of a corpse, motor vehicle theft, crimes against an at-risk adult, and theft of $5,000 to $20,000.
The search for the mother started when her daughter Sharon called police and said she couldn’t contact her and her brother, according to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.
When police arrived at the property, they found a note from Vandervelde, informing his mother he was going to work in Denver. The note also indicated that there was a dispute between them.
In May 2018, police re-entered the home and found blood on a carpet square but they could not determine who it belonged to. They also noticed a ‘distinct foul odor’ in the room.
In June 2018, officers questioned Fren’s son after he was pulled over in Missouri but he told them he was ‘George Williams’
Officers found out that he had been using his mother’s credit cards and had withdrawn $10,000 from her account – over $5,000 of which was discovered inside the vehicle.
When asked if he had murdered his mother, he said that he wanted to contact his mother but phone records on the two mobile phones did not indicate that he had attempted to call her.
But phone records showed that he Google searched: ‘Map of desolate places in Colorado’ and ‘least traveled areas near grand junction county.’
He also searched ‘how to knock someone out quickly and quietly’ and ‘five ways to knock someone out in under 10 seconds.’
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