when good comes from evil
Community rallies around family who lost everything
It all started with a plea from the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office: Can you help us find this truck? A 1992 two-tone Ford F-150, stolen from the parking lot of the Drury Inn in Centennial, sometime during the night of October 29.
The truck belonged to the Madison family who was moving from Colorado to Texas to be closer to family. The truck had all the belongings they owned, including a wheelchair for their 13-year-old daughter, Rihanna, who has epilepsy and suffers from seizures.
Kimika Madison, the mother, was putting herself through college, all her textbooks were stolen too, along with the cane she walks with. Their food, clothing, family photos, birth certificates and so much more was in the truck. They had just emptied out their storage unit. It was everything they own.
"We’ve been in Colorado for five years. We’ve been through a lot of hardships, ,but this one really hurt," said husband Calvin Lucas.
Within minutes of the sheriff's office social media post, requests were pouring in from citizens: How can we help? Where can we donate? What can we give them?
The Arapahoe Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 31 quickly set up a donation fund for the family. They also gave them the first $500 in cash.
"It was the least we could do," said Jason Presley, President of the FOP. "This family had nothing left. We really wanted to help."
Deputy Riley Nolan who was on patrol that day, heard about the incident and gave the family a wheelchair he had lying around his house.
"That’s why I got into this line of work. It makes me feel really good that I could help someone else," said Deputy Nolan.
Within two days, the FOP had raised $12,000 and a check was delivered to the family. They could barely hold back the tears.
"I can't thank you enough," Kimika Madison told our deputies, "you and the community brought such joy to our hearts."
Kimika Madison says they were able to purchase some food, clothing and most importantly, a used minivan to get back to Texas.
Click the video below to watch the heartwarming story of the Madison family on Denver7.
JAIL HELPS FREED INMATES STAY WARM
Cold and shivering inmates who are released into the winter weather are now in luck. They get a free coat thanks to "Coats for Colorado." Each winter, the non-profit donates about 150 pieces of men's and women's outerwear to the Arapahoe County jail. The jail, in turn, provides freed inmates with "weather-appropriate" civilian clothing when they're released.
"If these folks get arrested in the summer, say at a 4th of July BBQ when they're in flip-flops and shorts, they have nothing to wear if they're released in the winter," says Jim Steele, Warehouse Specialist. "We not only give them a winter coat, but we even provide long pants and warm shirt too."
Steele has been handing out coats to inmates for the past 10 years. When the temps are frigid, rarely does an inmate turn one down. But not everyone wants one.
"If they say no, sometimes we chase them down the exit ramp and ask them, 'are you sure you don't want a coat?' If they say yes, we give them one their size. They're usually very appreciative," says Steele.
Some of coats aren't cheap either. Steele says many are designer brands and once in a while they'll get leather jackets donated that are worth hundreds of dollars. Some are even brand new with tags.
"Last year, one of our male inmates was being released and we only had one coat left, it was the end of winter. He left the jail in a pink coat. We felt terrible, but it's all we had," said Steele. "At least he was warm!"
Watch this FOX31 News Story about Coats for Colorado and the jail program.
CITIZENS ACADEMY GOES virtual
Many things have changed since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March, including how the sheriff's office interacts with the community. Like most, we've had to cancel our popular community events. One of those was our Fall Citizens Academy, which gives folks a behind-the-scenes look at the sheriff's office. We made the decision to make the class virtual for the first time.
The Academy began with our historian, Captain McKlem where citizens learned the history of our agency, the oldest sheriff's office in Colorado. He then gave folks a virtual tour of the artifacts at our headquarters building. Watch the video below.
Citizens also learned about investigations, SWAT, the bomb squad, patrol operations and traffic safety. They got to use laser pistols in the shoot-don't-shoot simulator and got a video tour of the Arapahoe County jail. The academy wrapped up on October 31, when the class was allowed to come together in person at the Highlands Ranch Law Enforcement Training Facility.
At the last event of the day, the class had an outdoor lunch and watched a K9 demonstration. The K9 unit has always been a favorite of the citizen’s academy, until this year when our new mounted patrol unit began and citizens were able to meet the new four legged equine deputies.
Our Spring Citizen Academy will also be virtual with the last day being on-site at the police academy. It runs from February 2-27, 2020 on Tuesday and Thursday evenings for adults 21 and older. If you'd like to apply, click the button below. We hope to see you there!
emergency operations CENTER on high alert
When Arapahoe County was moved to Level Red or "Severe Risk" on the COVID-19 dial, the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) went on high alert. Known as Level One in the EOC, it's the highest level of activation, requiring a 24/7 agency-wide effort.
The EOC is a central command facility located at the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office. It's primary responsibility is carrying out the principles of emergency preparedness and emergency management for natural or manmade disasters, disease outbreaks and other public health emergencies.
For Arapahoe County, Level Red adds significant restrictions to activities and businesses. Some of those include:
- Indoor dining closed; take out, curbside and delivery are encouraged.
- Outdoor dining in open air only.
- Indoor events are closed or cancelled
- All alcohol sales stop at 8 p.m.
- New guidelines for P-12 schools.
For a complete list of the new restrictions, click the button below.
NEED A GUN PERMIT? CALL AHEAD
An important update regarding our concealed handgun permits: the process of allowing 20 walk-in customers per day for Concealed Handgun Permits (CHP) at our Centennial headquarters, has been temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 spread and current public health orders. However, the Sheriff’s Office will continue to process CHP by appointment only. Appointments can be made by calling 720-874-3929. We will provide updates when we're able to resume the walk-in process. For more information, click below.
Cold case file
Jennifer Larsen, 21
On August 13, 1995, after unsuccessfully trying to get in touch with his daughter, Jennifer Larsen’s father called authorities to report her missing. He had gone to her apartment to check on her cats, didn't notice anything unusual or missing and there were no signs of forced entry. Jenny’s red 1994 Toyota coupe was also unaccounted for.
Three days earlier, on the evening of August 10, Jenny’s best friend hosted a party at her home on Layton Drive in Aurora. As the evening grew late, Jenny's best friend and another male said Jenny left around 4:00 a.m. However, a neighbor who woke to the sound of her dogs barking placed that time closer to 6:00 a.m. That neighbor watched as a female left the residence next door, got into a red car and drove off. This is the last reported sighting of Jennifer Larsen alive.
On August 20, Jenny’s red Toyota coupe was seen by Jenny’s best friend and that same male companion. It was parked in a lot on South Memphis Way. The car was unlocked, windows partially down, driver’s seat pushed all the way back and keys lying on the front floor mat. Trace evidence was collected from the car.
Six weeks later, on a frosty October morning, a farmer in eastern Colorado made a grisly discovery. Lying in his sunflower crop, on a back country road inside a barbed wire fence, were the remains of Jennifer Larsen. Both time and the elements had taken their toll, but when the coroner’s report was finished, the manner of death was homicide.
Several strong suspect leads have been developed in this case, including the male companion of Jenny’s best friend who had a history of violence towards women. Jenny's friends said they were out late one evening to visit the field where her body was found. They saw a truck parked on the side of the country road, with a white male sitting there, in the dark. They asked him if he knew about a body being discovered there, whereupon the male provided them with exact details of the site, where the body was found. Investigators are open to the possibility this male is linked to other unsolved homicides in the area.
If you have any information regarding this case, please contact the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office at 303-795-4711, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To view all of our current cold cases, please click the button below.