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Cold Case Solved: Anthony John Armbrust III Identified As Man Found Dead In 1974, Wife Still Missing

FAIRPLAY, Colo. (CBS4) – The Park County Coroner's Office and the DNA Doe Project announced the man found dead in a mountainous region outside of Grant in 1974 has been identified as Anthony John Armbrust III. The coroner said Armbrust died from blunt force injuries and suffered multiple fractures when he fell or jumped from a plateau. Investigators believe he made a suicide pact with his wife -- and she is still missing.

anthony and renee armbrust
Anthony and Renee Armbrust (credit: Park County Sheriff)

"Through the interviews, people indicate that Anthony was suffering from a potential terminal illness, which is described to us as emphysema," Park County Coroner David Kintz, Jr., stated.

In 1974, Armbrust was living in California with his wife, Renee, and running a metaphysical church. After his diagnosis, the couple came to Golden and rented an apartment.

"Very shortly after they rented this apartment, the members of the Church in California received a letter from Anthony, asking them to come to Golden collect his personal items, and take a German Shepherd puppy, that was left in the apartment and members of the church did as they were asked," Kintz said.

"They came to Golden immediately. They found the apartment empty. They took the few remaining items, and the German Shepherd puppy, who I'm happy to announce was in good health," Kintz said.

That was the last time anyone heard from the Armbrusts.

"We've determined through further interviews that Anthony and Renee came to Colorado in what some people termed, during my interviews, as to be 'taken by God in the Colorado mountains,' or what we're describing more bluntly, as a suicide pact," Kintz said.

Kintz said they have searched the area where Anthony Armbrust was found but they have not found any sign of Renee Armbrust.

Armbrust was found without any personal belongings or identification and there was no vehicle found in the area. With very little to go on, the case went cold.

In the summer of 2019, Kintz contacted the DNA Doe Project. According to DDP team leaders, the case was challenging -- involving approximately 800 hours of volunteer genetic research. Eventually they were able to identify a first cousin, who was willing to take a DNA test, and helped them make the final identification.


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