Half-year later, killer still at large
Post Independent Staff
Six months after the killing of Glenwood Springs husband, father and artist Tom Lubchenco, police are still looking for the killer.
Glenwood Springs police chief Terry Wilson insists that despite the time that’s lapsed since the Father’s Day killing, his department is still chasing down leads and interviewing those who might have information.
“This is still a very active and sensitive investigation,” he said.
Although the department has moved away from investigating the killing on a full-time basis, Wilson said there is some action taken on the case almost every day, and it is still considered a top-priority matter.
Lubchenco, 56, was shot to death around 11:30 p.m. the night of Monday, June 16, inside the Glenwood Springs Wal-Mart store. He worked there on the night stocking crew.
In the days after the homicide, police based their investigation on descriptions they received from witnesses that the killer was a 5-foot, 10-inch white male with a thin build, wearing a black baseball cap and a black jacket at the time of the shooting.
Even after six months, however, Wilson said he cannot release any additional details of the case. Police need to keep some information classified so it is known only by investigators and the person who committed the crime.
“That’s essentially because you need some control of the key pieces of information to determine what’s bogus,” he said.
Also, if police get close to a suspect, non-released information can help to catch a criminal in a lie, or discover that the criminal knows something that nobody else knows.
During the past six months, Wilson said the department has conducted more than 100 interviews with people who might have information.
By telephone, department investigators interviewed witnesses or sources in California, Idaho and even Uzbekistan, a former Soviet bloc country north of Afghanistan.
“We had to contact the State Department for that one,” he said.
The police department has also worked with other local, state and national law enforcement agencies in hopes of breaking the case.
Wilson said that he and others in the department keep in touch with the Lubchenco family.
“Under the circumstances, I’d say they’ve been extremely patient and understanding,” he said.
“Obviously these are the people we’re working for,” he said. “I think they’ve come to know it’s extremely important for us, as well. The best thing we can offer them is a closed case and that’s what we hope to provide.”
Prior to the Father’s Day shooting, the Glenwood Springs Police Department had a good record of solving homicides. But the department now matches a trend other departments across the nation are experiencing. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the percentage of solved homicide cases dropped from 79 percent in 1976 to just 63 percent in 2000.
Wilson declined to comment on whether the department is formulating a case against a particular person, and he would not say whether he feels the killer has moved on or still remains in the Glenwood Springs area.
“Typically, after a case like this has been unsolved for a while, we know there’s more information out there that we don’t have. We would like that information,” he said.
As for the department’s morale at having an unsolved homicide, Wilson said the situation is not a morale-breaker. Many in the department have a “grim determination” to get the case solved.
“Their dedication to solving it has never changed,” Wilson said.
There is still a $20,000 reward for anyone who provides information to police that leads to the killer’s capture and conviction. Wilson urges anyone with any information on the case to call Glenwood Springs police at 384-6500.
Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext 511
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Grace Wesseling is an animal lover, a cheerleader of seven years and another soon-to-be graduate of Bridges High School, class of 2021.