Deputy delves into Garfield County dismemberment cold case
For Megan Alstatt June 12, 2009, is the most memorable day of her law enforcement career.
That day she and fellow Garfield County Sheriff’s deputies walked slowly in a long line through an apple orchard five miles west of Glenwood Springs in a grid search for body parts and evidence. The case was the most gruesome homicide investigation of her career — the dismemberment murder 38-year-old Janine Johler.
Seven years later, Alstatt, who now leads the Johler unsolved homicide investigation, brought the case from a mountainside to Colfax Avenue where Johler worked as a prostitute.
“I’m starting from ground zero,” Alstatt said in a recent interview. “We went to where she walked and lived and breathed. I tried to see the world through her eyes.”
There are many possibilities of how Johler crossed paths with her killer. He might have been a regular client. Or she might have met him the day she was killed.
Colfax Avenue has a checkered history. It’s where serial killers including Vincent Groves, who killed as many as 20 women, and Richard Paul White, who killed five, both trolled for prostitutes to strangle. The murders of dozens of other prostitutes who disappeared along the Colfax corridor remain unsolved.
Alstatt recently canvassed Colfax from the state capitol to Aurora, showing photographs of Johler to business owners, prostitutes and passersby.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Messaging from CDOT changes, but Independence Pass is noted as closed on its website; though not for mudslides
Independence Pass east of Aspen is listed as closed according to the state’s transportation department, but the road was not shut down Wednesday because of mudslides but rather to lessen traffic.