Missing Man Connected To Local Homicide Near Johnstown Rescued
A missing man connected to a local homicide was rescued last week after being held hostage.
According to the Weld County Sheriff's Office via Facebook, 26-year-old Oscar Eduardo Valles Avila - who had been missing since the night of Saturday, Nov. 20 - was rescued during a massive, multi-agency operation conducted by the Weld County Regional SWAT Team and the Weld County Sheriff’s Office Strike Team, along with the assistance of the Sedgwick, Phillips and Logan County Sheriff’s Offices.
As per WCSO's post, Avila was found and rescued by officials with the Weld Regional SWAT Team at approximately 8:15 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 22 at a gas station off Interstate 76 in Julesburg, Colorado - a small town in Sedgwick County just about six miles from the Nebraska state line.
The news comes in the midst of an ongoing investigation regarding the discovery of a homicide near Johnstown last Sunday (Nov. 21).
SEE: WCSO Seeking Info, Missing Man In Connection To Local Homicide Near Johnstown
WCSO officials first began investigating the homicide at about 12:45 p.m. on Nov. 21.
Deputies initially responded to a report of a suspicious death in the 23600 block of Blake Street in unincorporated Weld County outside of Johnstown.
The victim, who was positively identified as 40-year-old Gilbert Gutierrez was found deceased and reportedly suffered from blunt force trauma.
During the investigation into the death of Gibert Gutierrez, detectives with the Weld County Sheriff's Office received information regarding a potential second victim, who was later found to be 26-year-old Oscar Eduardo Valles Avila.
Avila was presumed kidnapped and in grave physical danger following the discovery of the homicide. Thanks to an extensive investigation conducted by the Weld County Sheriff’s Office Investigations Unit, information pertaining to Avila and his ties to the Julesburg area were uncovered, which ultimately brought officials to that area to conduct a further search.
Avila was contacted by Strike Team members at the Julesburg gas station and was provided medical attention. Meanwhile, the Weld County SWAT Team along with the help of the Sedgwick, Phillips, and Logan County Sheriff’s Offices continued to two houses near the intersection of 7th and Oak streets in Julesburg, where two search warrants were executed.
One of two primary suspects, Marco Antonio Gutierrez-Herrera, 40, was arrested by members of the Strike Team without incident. He was booked into the Weld County Jail on charges of second-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, second-degree assault, and menacing, which are all felonies.
Additional charges for Gutierrez-Herrera are still pending.
While one suspect is in custody, WCSO is actively searching to identify and locate the second suspect in the homicide case. The suspect was last seen in Julesburg early Monday in a 2015-2017 white Toyota Camry or similar sedan. He was in the same vehicle in Johnstown the day of the homicide. Detectives suspect that has ties to the Pueblo area; the suspect should be considered armed and dangerous at this time.
Should you have any information regarding this case, you are asked to call Detective Ong with WCSO at (970) 400-5816.
Anyone with information regarding this or any other crime is asked to call the Weld County Sheriff’s Office at (970) 356-4015 or Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Tips can also be submitted through the Crime Stoppers website at www.crimeshurt.com. Those submitting tips through Crime Stoppers that lead to the arrest and filing of charges on a suspect(s) may be eligible for a cash reward.
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