Colorado Parks and Wildlife say it all started as a routine “motorist assistance” stop when a park ranger stopped a suspicious vehicle that was lingering in the park after hours on Saturday, June 29, 2019, at Lathrop State Park, just west of Walsenburg, Colorado.
Officials say the suspect, who had a female passenger in the car with him, exited their running vehicle and was standing at a park information map when Colorado Parks and Wildlife Park Ranger Spencer Gerk approached them. When asked to see a driver’s license, the driver said he didn’t have a driver’s license and tried to grab a knife clipped to his pocket, according to a press release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
The park ranger then drew his own service weapon and the male suspect took off running south into the park. The female passenger, Jennifer Irene Wilton, was detained while authorities searched the vehicle, which was reportedly stolen and displaying plates stolen from another vehicle.
Gerk found drugs and stolen property inside the vehicle, including “multiple purses” in the back seat. The female passenger was arrested while the search continued for the male suspect, Daniel Lee Neil.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife Park Ranger, Spencer Gerk, staff from Lathrop State Park, Park Manager Stacey Koury, CPW District Wildlife Officer Travis Sauder, based in Walsenburg, CPW Ranger James Wilson from Trinidad Lake State Park, and deputies from the Huerfano County Sheriff’s office and Colorado State Patrol troopers participated in the search.
The three-day manhunt came to an end on Tuesday, July 2, 2019, when authorities caught and arrested the wanted fugitive in Walsenburg, Colorado. No incidents were reported.
Both suspects were taken into custody with several charges pending including aggravated motor vehicle theft, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The female passenger, Jennifer Irene Wilton is also facing a charge of possession of a concealed weapon.
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