Authorities may get a break in disappearance of man after Parachute fight
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Authorities in Parachute and Glenwood Springs may soon get a break in the nearly two-year-old disappearance of Paul Cunningham, a 26-year-old who was last seen on Feb. 19, 2012, fleeing on foot from Shommy’s restaurant in Parachute following a fight of some sort.
Although no one would speak on the record about the matter, it appears that police, the Ninth Judicial District Attorney and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation all are negotiating with, or are about to negotiate with, a woman who has said she knows that Cunningham was murdered and knows who killed him.
According to Parachute Police Chief Cary Parmenter, there have been no new leads in the case for more than a year. “We keep hearing the same rumors going around and around,” Parmenter said, without going into details.
And now, he continued, “We have someone willing to talk to us, but we don’t know why she’s willing to talk to us.”
He said the unnamed woman has been “convicted of some crimes” and is “looking at some prison time,” implying that she may be trying to trade her knowledge for a reduced sentence on her conviction.
District Attorney Sherry Caloia, whose office was named by Parmenter as one of the agencies interested in talking with the woman, would neither confirm nor deny her office’s involvement, other than to write in an email, “I am not at liberty to talk about any investigation. Sorry.”
Cunningham, who also went by the last name Hodgden, was a resident of Battlement Mesa, an unincorporated community near Parachute.
According to a Garfield County Crimestoppers alert publicized on March 19, 2012, Cunningham was wanted by the Parachute Police Department on charges of assault, reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct and violation of a restraining order at the time of his disappearance.
The warrant for his arrest on the charges listed above stemmed from Cunningham’s alleged involvement in the fight at Shommy’s, according to the alert.
Authorities were offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information on Cunningham’s (or Hodgden’s) whereabouts, and it was not clear at press time on Thursday whether anyone had ever tried to collect that reward.
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Officer Haley Walker sat beside her stepmother in a windowless interrogation room just before starting the overnight shift on Thursday evening.