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Daughter of victim in Colorado airplane bombing visits site

Daughter of victim in Colorado airplane bombing visits site
Daughter of victim in Colorado airplane bombing visits site 02:26

Decades after what was called "Colorado's Worst Mass Murder" an Ohio woman has come to Colorado to visit the site where her father died.

It was Nov. 1, 1955, when a bomb brought down United Flight 629 east of Longmont and all 44 people on board were killed.


The news spread across the country and the world. Among those on board that flight from Denver to Portland was Marion Hobgood. His daughter, who later became Marian Poppelmeyer was named for him. The 31-year-old Hobgood had worked as an engineer for Philco and had been on a business trip at the time.

Conrad Hopp who still lives nearby, was right there having dinner when the explosion happened. Poppelmeyer was amazed to find him after all the years that had gone by.

"I was like, 'Oh my goodness… There's a man who was a living eyewitness, possibly first on the field.' I think I cried," she said.

Marian's mother was pregnant with her when the bombing occurred. Her mother remarried and would not talk about Marian's biological father.


But she was determined to find out everything including meeting someone who helped with the victims. Poppelmeyer wanted to express her gratitude to the people of Longmont and Weld county who had assisted the efforts following the crash.

For Hopp, meeting the daughter of a victim was a big moment.

"It's changed my whole perspective because my thoughts throughout the years have been for the victims on the planes, but now I think about the families who have suffered," he said.

Marian had come from Ohio with a request: to see the field where the plane's debris came down.

It's spread across a mile east of Longmont. She now walked where her father had died reflecting, "I think it's hard to imagine all of the chaos and where the bodies were thrown and where my dad was."

What happened here was the work of man Jack Graham of Denver who placed dynamite and a timer on the United flight to kill his mother for insurance money. Graham had purchased insurance for his mother at Stapleton Airport.

Investigations by the FBI and Civil Aeronautics Board led to his arrest. He was put to death after a trial.


"I didn't want to forgive him… I couldn't even say his name."

But through a spiritual awakening, she now forgives the man who took the life of her father and 43 others so many years ago.

Her journey to learn about her father is recounted in a book titled, "Finding My Father."

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