Colorado investigators re-opening 1975 murder of 19 year old

by Amanda Push

In 1975, Deborah Tomlinson was a Mesa College student with curly dark hair and big smile living in Grand Junction, Colo. However, it was also the year the 19-year-old woman’s life was tragically cut short after she was murdered by someone(s) still unknown.

After becoming concerned that Tomlinson wasn’t responding to phone calls, according to The Daily Sentinel, the complex manager of the building she lived in entered her apartment using a master key and discovered the 19-year-old’s body in the bathroom. Tomlinson had been sexually assaulted, bound, strangled, and left in her bathtub. It seemed that she’d put up quite a fight – investigators found a gash on her forehead. Her bedroom window was open and the toilet was running.

Decades later, the case remains without an arrest – something investigators are now trying to change. Cpl. Brandon Ludwig of the Grand Junction Police Department was especially moved when he came across Tomlinson’s cold case in 2014. According to The Daily Sentinel, he even volunteered to work on the case for free on his days off. Don’t worry, his supervisors agreed to pay him.

Ludwig wants to solve the case for Tomlinson’s father, Jim.

“My heart really goes out to him and I would love nothing more than to give him some closure and some peace,” Ludwig told The Daily Sentinel. “I can’t imagine going 42 years not knowing who killed my child.”

In a memorial published Dec. 27, 2015, in The Daily Sentinel, her family members wrote: “It has been 40 years since you were so brutally taken from us. You are truly missed.”

Investigators want to use new DNA testing technology and are asking for the public’s help in solving the 44-year-old homicide.

If you have information on the case, contact Cpl. Brandon Ludwig at the Grand Junction Police Department at 970-683-3404.

Amanda Push


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