On the same day that Annette Schnee and Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer go missing from Breckenridge, Colorado, a man is rescued in a mountain pass. Decades later, the police connect him to their m*rders.

Jeff Oberholtzer told 48 Hours that he knew something was wrong when his wife, Bobbie Jo, failed to return home on the night of January 6, 1982. The next day, he found some of her belongings, including a bloody glove and handkerchief, scattered on the side of the highway near Breckenridge, Colorado, not far from where they lived.

Little did anyone know at the time that the DNA from this evidence would be crucial in solving the mystery of her – and another young woman’s – d*ath nearly 40 years later.

Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer disappears

Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer

Jeff Oberholtzer

Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer was a single 29-year-old who had recently moved to Colorado. She and her husband Jeff settled in the town of Alma, about 30 minutes south of the popular ski resort of Breckenridge.

On the evening of January 6, 1982, Bobbie Jo called Jeff saying that she had gone out for drinks with friends at Breckenridge and would be home soon. Bobbie Jo often hitchhiked, as did many people at the time, and told Jeff she was going to get a ride. But she seemingly disappeared around 7:50 p.m. after leaving a local pub

When she didn’t return home, Jeff went to the police but was told it was too early to report her missing.

Disturbing items found on the ranch

The ranch where Bobbie Jo's items were found

CBS news

The next morning, the farmer called Jeff and told him that he had found Bobbie Jo’s driver’s license and some of her other items in his driveway. Jeff went to the ranch and on the way found Bobbie Jo’s backpack, a bloody glove and a handkerchief in the snow.

Then a group of friends set out to find Bobbie Jo in the snow-covered Hoosier Pass between Breckenridge and Alma. Bobbie Jo used to take this route home.

A gruesome discovery



A group of cross-country skiing friends found the dead body of Bobbie Jo lying by the side of the road on the slope of a snowdrift on Hoosier Pass, about 10 miles from Breckenridge, where she was last seen.

This photo shows investigators at the crime scene after finding the body.

Zippers indicate a brutal m*rder



Investigators say Bobbie Jo’s body was frozen due to the cold temperatures. Her hands were close together and her left wrist was zipped up.

Gunshot wound marks

Evidence of Oberholtzer's m*rder


Investigators believed that Bobbie Jo was shot at close range in the chest and that she was trying to escape from her att*cker.

A mysterious object was found at the crime scene

Evidence of Oberholtzer's m*rder


There was an orange sock with soles in the Hoosier Pass parking lot, near the body of Bobbie Jo Oberholzer.

“It didn’t fit … It didn’t fit anything to do with Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer,” then Colorado Bureau of Investigation agent Jim Hardtke told the “48 Hours.” “It was one of those mysterious things you find at a crime scene.”

Hook for keys for self-defense

Evidence of Oberholtzer's m*rder


Also found in the parking lot was a large brass hook keychain that Jeff Oberholtzer had made for Bobbie Jo in case she ever had to defend herself.

A second woman has been reported missing

Aneta Schnee

Annette Schnee’s family

On January 8, the day after Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer’s body was found, a co-worker of 21-year-old Annette Schnee reported her missing.

After determining Annette’s recent movements, investigators learned that she was last seen in Breckenridge around 4:30 p.m. on January 6, hours before Bobbie Jo disappeared. Annette also hitchhiked frequently, which was one of the reasons investigators suspected the cases might be related.

Annette’s body is discovered

Sacramento Creek, Colorado

Charlie McCormick

Annette Schnee’s body was discovered on July 3, 1982, six months after her disappearance.

The young boy was fishing in Sacramento Creek, about 23 miles from Breckenridge, when he came across Annette’s fully clothed body lying face down in the water.

Investigators believe Annette was shot in the back at a downward angle and may have been kneeling or running away from the shooter.

Evidence of s*xual assault

Annette Schnee jeans


Although authorities found no physical evidence, Annette had been s*xually assaulted and her clothes were in disarray. The zipper on her blue jeans was broken and her shoes were badly placed when her body was found.

Orange bootie socks hold the cases together

Orange sock found at the Schnee crime scene


During Annette Schnee’s autopsy, former CBI agent Jim Hardtke noticed that Annette was wearing an orange sock on her left foot that appeared to match the one found at the Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer crime scene.

“…I’m saying…it’s amazing. It connects things,” said Hardtke.

Investigators believe that Annette lost one sock in the killer’s vehicle as she fled, and it remained there until several hours later when he picked up Bobbie Jo, and fell out when she escaped.

A major breakthrough almost 40 years later

Det.  Sgt.  Wendy Kipple

CBS news

The m*rders of Annette Schnee and Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer stunned authorities for nearly 40 years. But at the time, advances in DNA allowed them to isolate an unknown male profile from the blood found on Bobbie Jo’s glove and tissue.

In early 2020, Park County Detective Sergeant Wendy Kipple and her team took a chance and donated a sample of this unknown DNA to United Data Connect, a Denver-based company that maintains DNA profiles through publicly available genealogy databases.

A year later, Kipple received a call about two possible matches: 69-year-old Alan Lee Phillips and his older brother Bruce Phillips.

A new lead with a dark past


Park County Sheriff’s Office

Det. Sgt. Kipple contacted Bruce Phillips, who said he had never lived in Colorado, but his estranged brother, Alan Lee Phillips, did. Kipple discovered that Alan Lee Phillips had been convicted of assault and burglary in 1973 – almost ten years before Bobby Jo and Annette went missing – and served six months behind bars.

The police report of the incident included this booking photo of the then 22-year-old Phillips and his signed confession. In the statement, Phillips admitted to picking up a woman who was hitchhiking in Breckenridge and physically assaulting her while the cab was empty.

The Sonic Drive-In bag becomes important evidence

Alan Lee Phillips DNA evidence


After delving into Alan Lee Phillips’ past, Det. Sgt. Kipple and her team were convinced he was the one who m*rdered Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer and Annette Schnee. But they needed proof, so they decided to secretly get his DNA to see if it matched the blood found on Bobbie Jo’s belongings.

In late January 2021, they began secretly following Phillips and finally, after five weeks, had a big break. When Phillips went to the Sonic Drive-In one day to buy some food, the detectives were there. Later that day, he dumped the bag in a dumpster at the post office near where he lived. Kipple and her team were there to get him back after he left. Phillips’ DNA was collected from saliva on a napkin in the bag.

On February 23, 2021, the results of DNA tests ended was Alan Phillip’s blood that was on Bobbie Jo’s glove and this tissue.

Later, DNA tests on an orange shoe found near Bobbie Jo’s body confirmed that the m*rders were related: Annette’s DNA was on the inside of the sock, and Bobbie Jo’s was on the outside.

Shocked Alan Lee Phillips arrested

Arrest of Alan Lee Phillips

Park County Sheriff’s Office

On February 24, 2021, Alan Lee Phillips was arrested for the m*rder of women during a roadside check near his home. He was initially charged with two counts of first-degree m*rder, kidnapping and assault. He denied any involvement in the crimes.

In her interview with CBS News correspondent Natalie Morales, Det. Sergeant Wendy Kipple described how Phillips was “shocked” when she handcuffed him.

A bizarre plot twist

Newspaper articles about m*rder and rescue

Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph

After Alan Lee Phillips was arrested, the local fire chief recalled a strange incident on the same night Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer and Annette Schnee went missing in 1982.

An airline passenger noticed lights below that were sending an SOS call for help and reported it. During a snowstorm raging, the local fire chief drove into a pass near Breckenridge where he found Alan Lee Phillips whose truck was stuck in a snowdrift. The fire chief rescued Phillips, not knowing at the time that Phillips had killed two women hours earlier.

At the time, stories about Phillips being rescued made their way into the local newspapers. One even appeared alongside the story of Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer’s body being found.

Two consecutive life sentences

Sentencing Alan Lee Phillips

CBS news

On September 15, 2022, a Park County jury found Alan Lee Phillips guilty of two counts of first degree m*rder, m*rder and kidnapping. Just over seven weeks later, he received two more life sentences for the m*rders of Annette Schnee and Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer.

During sentencing, Phillips’ lawyer told the court that his client maintained his innocence and had been wrongly convicted.

#years #blood #victims #glove #identifies #killer

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