Cold Case Homicide

Victim: Teree Becker, DOB 05-09-55

WPD Case Report #1975-05835

On Dec. 6, 1975 two citizens riding motorcycles found the body of a white female in a field located at approximately 100th Avenue and Lowell Boulevard. The body was partially clothed and there was evidence of sexual assault. The victim was identified as 20-year-old Teree Becker, who was living in Denver at the time of her death. Becker was last seen visiting a boyfriend who was incarcerated in the Adams County Detention Center earlier on Dec. 4, 1975. Becker was reported to have hitchhiked to the detention center earlier on Dec. 4, and probably caught a ride with unknown person(s) after she left the detention center. The death is being investigated as a homicide.

We encourage anyone with information regarding this case to contact the detective division at 303-658-4215.

UPDATE:Teree Becker was last seen on December 4, 1975, when she hitchhiked to see her boyfriend who was incarcerated at the Adams County Jail in Brighton, Colorado.  Her exact whereabouts after this visit are unknown.  On Saturday morning December 6, 1975, the body of Teree Becker was found by a couple riding their motorcycles in a field in the area of 100th Avenue and Lowell Boulevard in Westminster Colorado.  It appeared that Teree’s body had been dumped in the field, along with her clothing and personal items.  During her autopsy it was determined Teree had been raped, and her cause of death was asphyxiation. 

The Teree Becker Cold Case has been worked and reviewed several times over the years. 

In 2003 The Colorado Bureau of Investigation was able to extract DNA from an unknown male originating off of a piece of evidence which was collected related to the rape. The unknown male profile generated was entered into the CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) database, but no match was determined.  No further substantial leads were developed until 2013, when an unknown DNA profile submitted by Las Vegas Metro Police Department matched to the unknown DNA profile in our homicide through the CODIS system.  Las Vegas Metro Police Department was reviewing a 1991 Cold Case involving a female who had been found raped and murdered in her apartment.  Through the DNA link, it determined the individual who murdered Teree Becker also murdered the female in Las Vegas.  Las Vegas Metro PD also did not have a suspect in their case.

In 2018, the profile that had been developed in the Westminster PD case was determined to be a good candidate for Genetic Genealogy. Genetic Genealogy (GG) is a lead generation tool that can be used to identify human remains by tying DNA to a family with a missing person or to point to the likely identity of an individual whose DNA was found at a crime scene. Genealogists accomplish this through the use of comparative DNA analysis, which measures the amount of DNA that is shared between two people, combined with traditional genealogy research using historical records to infer relationships between individuals. 

Over the next five years, through the use of department research, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Parabon Nanolabs (a genetic DNA lab), and Solved By DNA (a local Denver genealogist company) a suspect was ultimately identified; Thomas Martin Elliott.

 In October 2023, Las Vegas Metro PD had obtained consent to exhume the body of Thomas Elliott based on the probability Thomas was the suspect in both homicide cases. A Detective and Senior Criminalist with Westminster PD flew to Las Vegas to witness the exhumation of Thomas Elliott.  Bones of Elliott were collected and submitted for analysis.

In December 2023, Thomas Martin Elliott was identified to the unknown male DNA in both the Westminster and Las Vegas homicides.  The Teree Becker Cold Case had been solved. 

Thomas Martin Elliott was born December 14, 1950 to Walter Graham Jr. and Nancy West.  Nancy West divorced Graham and married James A. Elliott.  Mr. Elliott would go on to adopt Thomas, which made tracing the genetic DNA a challenge.

Thomas Elliott spent a large portion of his life in and out of the prison system.  Shortly before he murdered Teree he committed a burglary in Lakewood that he would ultimately be convicted of, spending six (6) years in prison. While in prison, Thomas was moved throughout the Department of Corrections system and was ultimately released from prison in Las Vegas in 1981. After his release he proceeded to commit a crime against a child and received a ten (10) year sentence.  He was again released in Las Vegas in 1991, where he would go on to murder the victim who was linked with our homicide.  Not long after this homicide, for unknown reasons, Thomas Elliott committed suicide on October 30, 1991.  He was buried in the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery due to a short enlistment he had with the military.

Teree grew up in Casper Wyoming with her parents, sister and brother.  She graduated from Kelly Walsh High School in Casper and worked for the Golden Bell Press, a local newspaper, for a time.  Shortly after graduation, she moved down to the Denver Metro area.  Teree often stayed with friends and family and was described as a “free spirit.”  Her family said that she often lived life on the edge. They said she never met a stranger and would hold a conversation with anyone.  Teree enjoyed painting, and listening to music.  Her favorite bands were Three Dog Night and Steppenwolf.  On her headstone, her parents had the following inscribed, “In God’s Hands.”

We are thrilled we were able to solve this cold case and hopefully bring closure to the friends and family of Teree Becker. 

We would also like to thank the Vegas Justice League who voluntarily paid for police to exhume the remains of Mr. Elliott for this case.

Westminster PD will continue to diligently review and work the remaining nine Westminster Cold cases.


Cold Case Homicide

Victim: John R. Storm, DOB 03-20-59

WPD Case Report #1983-33191

PD Storm.jpg

On Nov. 21, 1983 John Storm was found dead at his residence from multiple gunshot wounds. Storm was leasing a house on the corner of 84th Avenue and Federal Boulevard in Westminster and was known to sell large quantities of illegal drugs. The house at this location was ransacked. Drugs and money were possibly removed from the house before police arrived on scene. 

We encourage anyone with information regarding this case to contact the detective division at 303-658-4215.




 Cold Case Homicide

Victim: David Fierro, DOB 01-18-67

WPD Case Report #1986-25596

PD Fierro.jpg

On July 14, 1986, at about 3:45 p.m., David Fierro was walking home to 74th Avenue and Federal Boulevard from the area of 80th Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard when he was shot behind the strip shopping mall located at 3001 W. 74th Ave. just south of the Holy Trinity Catholic Church/School. David was subsequently flown by Flight for Life helicopter to an area hospital where he died from his wounds. A 1970s brown automobile, thought to be a Plymouth possibly bearing a partial Colorado license plate of PAF was seen driving erratically from the area. The driver of the vehicle was described as a white male, 25-35 years of age, with medium length brownish curly hair, and a closely cropped beard with no mustache. The hair and beard had a reddish tint with some gray. The driver was also wearing a baseball cap.    

We encourage anyone with information regarding this case to contact the detective division at 303-658-4215.



Cold Case Homicide

Victim: John Lee, DOB 08-08-68 

WPD Case Report #1997-04985

PD Lee.jpg

On the morning of April 10, 1997, shortly after 10 a.m., a lone gunman entered what was then the Colorado National Bank located at 3454 72nd Ave. firing a round into the ceiling of the lobby announcing a robbery. He then approached a female employee at a teller station demanding her to give him money. Several employees and customers reacting to the gunman’s actions tried to escape by running out an exit on the opposite side of the bank from where the robbery was taking place. The gunman fired at least twice at those fleeing; striking bank employee John Lee (28 years old) and a customer. Mr. Lee was killed while the other shooting victim survived his wounds. The suspect fled the bank out an east exit and no vehicle was seen. The gunman was described as a black male, 5’6’-5’10, early 20’s in age, and 150-165 pounds. He was wearing a hooded gray sweatshirt under a hooded dark colored sports team type coat that had lighter coloring across the top of the back and shoulders, dark baggy pants, a dark ski mask and gloves. Mr. Lee was single at the time of his murder, lived with his parents, and was also a student at Regis University.      

We encourage anyone with information regarding this case to contact the detective division at 303-658-4215.


Cold Case Homicide

Victim: Sarah Skiba, DOB 07-27-89, WF, BLN, HZL 4'-5' 80

PD Skiba, S-1.jpg






Victim: Paul Skiba, DOB 02-23-60, WM, BRO, HZL 6'1" 170

PD Skiba, P-1.jpg

Victim: Lorenzo Chivers, DOB 11-05-62, BM BLK BRO 5'-10" 160

PD Chivers.jpg

WPD Case Report #1999-20280

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Since February 1999, Westminster Police Department and Thornton Police Department detectives have investigated the suspicious disappearance of nine-year-old Sarah Skiba, her father Paul Skiba, and Lorenzo Chivers, an employee of Paul’s moving company and storage facility (Tuff’s Moving) at 7010 Raleigh St., #5 in Westminster. Physical evidence was located at the moving and storage facility and in or on two moving trucks owned by the business. Blood found at the facility was confirmed to be human blood by the Colorado Bureau of Investigations and identified through DNA as being from Paul and Sarah Skiba.

On Feb. 17, 1999, a vehicle belonging to Lorenzo Chivers was located several blocks away from the moving and storage facility at the apartment complex parking lot of 3809 68th Ave. in Westminster. On Feb. 27, 1999, a vehicle belonging to Paul Skiba was located in an apartment complex parking lot at 3129 Arkansas Ave. in Denver. The investigation and forensic evidence indicate that Sarah Skiba, Paul Skiba, and Lorenzo Chivers were likely murdered near 72nd Avenue and Raleigh Street in Westminster on Feb. 7, 1999. Their bodies have never been recovered. The case has been classified as a homicide investigation.

Tuff's Moving Truck

PD Tuff Moving Truck.jpg

We encourage anyone with information regarding this case to contact the detective division at 303-658-4215.


Cold Case Homicide

Victim: Walter Gallegos, DOB 09-20-79

WPD Case Report #1999-06524

PD Gallegos.png

On May 15, 1999, Walter Gallegos attended a large party at 13173 Quivas St. in Westminster. Several people became involved in a disturbance outside of the residence and Gallegos was shot while running out of the garage into the street. Information developed during the investigation and witness statements led police to believe that an individual who lived at the residence was responsible for the shooting. At the time of the investigation witnesses appeared to be reluctant to cooperate with police in identifying the suspect. Due to these circumstances there was not sufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges.

We encourage anyone with information regarding this case to contact the detective division at 303-658-4215.



Cold Case Homicide

Victim: Katrina Renee Powell, DOB 08-21-78

WPD Case Report #2004-15625

PD Powell.jpg

On Oct. 25, 2004 at 6:49 a.m. Westminster police found the body of a nude female lying on the pavement near a dumpster at 7530 Sheridan Blvd. The female’s death was ruled a homicide. The victim was later identified as Catrina Renee Powell. Catrina Powell had been arrested by the Denver Police Department on Oct. 22, 2004. Catrina was taken to jail and was last seen in the area of Colfax Avenue and Ogden Street on Oct. 24, 2004 at about 3 a.m. Catrina was possibly living on the streets of Denver at this time and was carrying a dark colored backpack. 

We encourage anyone with information regarding this case to contact the detective division at 303-658-4215.



Cold Case Homicide

Victim: Joseph Armarante Nelson, DOB 07-04-82

WPD Case Report #2005-16760

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PD Nelson

On Nov. 10, 2005 at about 8:40 p.m. Joseph Nelson was fatally shot on the street in front of his home, located at 3285 76th Ave. in Westminster, after an altercation with the occupants of a dark colored SUV. Witnesses stated that a dark green 2-door Ford Explorer stopped on the street in front of Nelson’s residence. Nelson had been with some family and friends on the front porch of the residence. Nelson left the porch and approached the Explorer. Witnesses recalled hearing two gunshots and observed Nelson collapse to the ground as the Ford Explorer fled the scene west on 76th Avenue. None of the witnesses were able to identify the occupants, driver, or shooter from the Explorer. Police interviewed several witnesses, checked the area for the Explorer, and were not able to obtain any additional information.

We encourage anyone with information regarding this case to contact the detective division at 303-658-4215.



Cold Case Homicide

Victim: Charles Douglas Sharpe, DOB 09-30-1951

WPD Case Report #2005-16760

PD Sharp.jpgOn Jan. 5, 2006 persons walking through an open vacant field in the southeast corner of 70th Avenue and Federal Boulevard in Westminster located an adult male lying in the middle of the field. The man was beneath a blanket and appeared to be a homeless man sleeping. Upon closer examination the man was deceased and appeared to have been assaulted and severely beaten. The male victim was identified as Charles “Charlie” Sharp, age 55. Sharp was homeless and often camped and slept in this and other nearby fields, and associated with other homeless persons. Sharp was known to frequent local bars near 72nd Ave. in Adams County, as well as work at local temporary day labor firms. Sharp was last seen on Jan. 2, 2006 in this same vicinity. 

We encourage anyone with information regarding this case to contact the detective division at 303-658-4215.



Cold Case Homicide

Victim: Lucas Mendoza-Barrera, DOB 02-15-74

WPD Case Report #2015-04758

PD Mendoza.jpg

On March 17, 2015 between 2:10 p.m. and 4:20 p.m., unknown suspect(s) entered a single family residence located at 7337 Bradburn Blvd. in Westminster through what was believed to be the rear entrance door. The residence housed five family members. The lone occupant of the residence on this date was victim Lucas Mendoza-Barrera. He sustained multiple gunshot wounds to his body and face, and a possible stab wound to the head.

During the investigation, DNA buccal swabs were obtained from a number of individuals with consent during interviews for comparison. There were no matches found. Video surveillance was collected from two sources showing two individuals, possibly older juveniles, coming and going near the residence that afternoon. Video clips were released to Metro Denver Crime Stoppers, but yielded no information. 

The following are basic descriptions of the two individuals seen in the area at the time of the crime:

  • #1 - White or Hispanic male; 5’6-5’9”; thinner build, longer legs, dark colored (possibly black) vest with white shirt or white hoodie, possibly a jacket black with white sleeves. Red tennis shoes. Darker, short hair. 
  • #2 - White or Hispanic male, 5’8”-5’9’; medium build, dark colored pants, dark colored hoodie with a lighter blue or jean jacket over, possibly Nike tennis shoes, unknown color. 

They are possibly younger adults/teens due to behavior and dress, though this is only a possibility, not a fact at this time. We do not have information on an associated vehicle. 

We encourage anyone with information regarding this case to contact the detective division at 303-658-4215.