AN arrest has been made nearly two decades after a woman’s naked body was found “badly decomposing” by two hikers.
John Angerer was previously suspected of the 2006 death of Angela Wilds but had been released due to lack of evidence.
Now, at 53 years old, he has been charged with one count of second-degree murder, said the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office in Colorado.
Wilds’ decomposing body was found on June 4, 2006, with only a cross ring on her left hand, said police.
“The body appeared to have been dragged from a nearby shallow grave, presumably by a large predator,” read a press release from the DA’s office.
“Deputies located a pair of yellow ski pants, a sleeping bag, and a pillow in a pillowcase, all neatly folded up near the gravesite.”
Her body was unidentified for months until DNA confirmed her identity in November of that year.
By 2009, investigators had implicated Angerer in Wilds’ death by way of DNA and arrested him in 2010.
He spent five months in jail after being charged with second-degree murder, however, a judge threw the case out due to lack of probable cause.
The chief pathologist for the Boulder County Coroner’s Office said at the time, testified at Angerer’s probable cause hearing that there wasn’t any evidence in Wilds’ autopsy that supported a homicide.
Wilds had a blocked artery at the time of her death, which the pathologist said could have meant she died from a heart attack.
“They need to produce evidence first that Angerer is the person who caused the death of another,” said Angerer’s public defender, Seth Temin.
“They haven’t done that, Judge. They can’t even place him at the scene of the death, nor can they say how or where she died.”
Boulder County Judge Thomas Reed said he wanted “an appellate court to wrestle with the issue that if there is absolutely no evidence of the cause of death, can a pathologist determine what was most likely the cause of death?”
Temin praised the ruling, calling it “the right decision.”
“There is no evidence of whether this was a homicide or, if so, who might have done it. That’s a fundamental issue in a murder case.”
Investigators kept working on Wilds’ case to determine how she died and who may have been behind it.
After interviewing new witnesses, “re-interviewing individuals previously known” to law enforcement, talking with other forensic pathologists, and submitting more information to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for testing and DNA analysis, investigators got the same answer.
“I am glad that we were able to move our investigation into the homicide of Angela Wilds forward,” said Boulder County Sheriff Curtis Johnson.
“I am proud that our detectives didn’t give up on this cold case. We know Angela’s family has been waiting a long time for this day to come. Her family is in our thoughts as we take the next steps in the judicial process.”
Angerer was arrested on March 9 in Anchorage, Alaska and his extradition to Colorado is pending at this time.
“We are determined to secure justice for the murder of Angela Wilds, some closure for her loved ones, and answers for our community,” said Boulder County DA Michael Dougherty.
“I am grateful for the tireless efforts and dedication of the investigators and prosecutors on this case. We sincerely appreciate the time and service of the grand jurors. Today’s announcement is an important step; we are committed to the work ahead. “