The victims of a triple homicide in Colorado Sunday night have been identified. At the same time, authorities are looking into the history of the suspect in the triple slaying, and assembling a frightening portrait of a disturbed individual who not only should have been in jail, but wanted to be.
The full picture of the triple homicide in Cañon City, Colorado, remained unclear this week as police and prosecutors try to figure out what set 31-year-old Jaacob Van Winkle on a violent rampage that claimed the lives of 35-year-old mom Mandy Folsom and her two young children, Marissa, 9, and Mason, 5.
A third child, a teenage girl, attempted to report the murders but Van Winkle, a registered sex offender who once served time for child molestation, caught her and, according to what she told police, sexually assaulted her.
She somehow managed to get free and escape to a neighbor’s house where she called police.
Van Winkle had reportedly been a boyfriend of Mandy Folsom. He was living in the family’s Colorado home at the time of the triple homicide, but whether he was still actively involved in a relationship with Folsom is uncertain.
Prosecutors Wednesday asked, and a Colorado judge agreed to grant them, more time before they file formal charges against Van Winkle in the triple homicide. Fremont County, Colorado, District Attorney Thomas LeDoux told the judge that he wants more information from the ongoing investigation before filing charges against Van Winkle.
Those charges are likely to include first-degree murder, which could potentially mean that Jaacob Van Winkle would face the death penalty.
A look into the suspect’s past shows that he has a disturbing history. After he was convicted of child molesting in 2004, one relative who lived with Van Winkle at the time said, according to court documents, “she was afraid something like this was going to happen.” Van Winkle earlier had “problems with exposing and fondling himself” dating back to an incident in a grocery store parking lot when he was a teenager.
In 2012, a 21-year-old Colorado woman, Yisenia Jimenes, who was Van Winkle’s girlfriend and was pregnant by him, said she was assaulted by Van Winkle, who threw her violently on a bed, tied her hands, repeatedly pressed a pillow over her face and told her he was going to rape her.
After a struggle, Van Winkle let her go without harming her further — then he asked her to call the police and report him. Van Winkle waited for the police to arrive and when they did, he told them, “I just want to go to jail.”
He was sentenced to 18 months and when he was released Jimenes took out a restraining order against him, which he violated in December leading to another arrest.
The Colorado triple homicide suspect served under two years of his seven-year sentence for child molesting in Indiana, where he also had convictions for criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, performing sexual conduct in the presence of a child, battery, intimidation, parole violations, and public intoxication, keeping him in and out of jail until 2012.
Nonetheless, Jaacob Van Winkle was now free and living in Colorado, and as a result, Mandy Folsom and her two young children are dead.