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Suspect in Colorado triple murder is captured at Oklahoma motel

December 29, 2013|By Matt Pearce
  • Harry Mapps, shown in a mug shot, was captured in Oklahoma on Saturday after a month on the run, officials said. He is suspected of killing three people in their sleep in Colorado and burning down their home.
Harry Mapps, shown in a mug shot, was captured in Oklahoma on Saturday after… (Pueblo County Sheriff's…)

A month-long nationwide manhunt for a man accused of murdering three people and burning down their home in Colorado ended Saturday night when he was arrested at a motel in Oklahoma, officials said.

In his mug shot, Harry Carl Mapps, 59, was bloodied, with cuts on his cheek, head and mouth, after the U.S. Marshals Service, with the help of several other agencies, tracked him to a motel near Interstate 40 in Roland in eastern Oklahoma, not far from the Arkansas border.

Officials said the Marshals Service, worried that Mapps might be armed, caught the former long-distance trucker by surprise and took him down quickly at the motel, resulting in superficial injuries.

“Since they didn’t know whether he was armed, they did a takedown, they didn’t announce themselves, say, 'Put your hands in the air,' " Lisa Shorter, a spokeswoman for the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office in Colorado, told the Los Angeles Times on Sunday. “We couldn’t be more grateful for the U.S. Marshals right now. We’re just glad to be bringing him back to Pueblo County."

On Nov. 27, a resident in Rye, Colo., called 911 after seeing smoke coming out of a home. Reginald Tuttle, 51; Kim Tuttle, 55; and their daughter, 33-year-old Dawn Roderick, were inside -- already dead from gunshot wounds, officials said. Investigators thought they'd been killed in their sleep.

"It would appear the motive for the crime was financial," Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor said in a statement at the time, "and the evidence only leads to one person being involved in all necessary aspects of the crime, and that is Harry Mapps.”

Mapps had been working for the Tuttles as a trucker, Shorter told The Times. The Denver Post reported that he lived with the Tuttles and worked as a radio dispatcher for the Reginald Tuttle Express, and that he had struggled with alcohol abuse.

Mapps was originally from Dimmit, Texas, and had been asked to leave the family's home a week before they were killed. Investigators zeroed in on Mapps after they said they found bank footage of him -- in his blue 2004 Town and Country minivan, with a disabled veteran's license plate from Texas -- cashing checks in the name of the Tuttles in Pueblo and La Junta on the day of the fire.

He was still driving that same van a month later when, he was captured in Oklahoma on Saturday night on warrants for murder, theft, identity theft, forgery and arson, Shorter said, adding that it looked like Mapps had tried to change his appearance.

The U.S. Marshals also wanted Mapps for fleeing prosecution.

“We went to great lengths to investigate every tip we received, and that, along with good, old-fashioned detective work, led us to this motel in Oklahoma," Charles Ahmad, enforcement supervisor for the Colorado district of the U.S. Marshals Service, told The Times, declining to detail what specific information led to Mapps' capture.

Ahmad said Mapps wasn't carrying a weapon but that officials were still serving warrants on his van and his motel room in Oklahoma.

"While our work isn’t done, there is certainly satisfaction in knowing we can begin this next phase of the case and that Mapps will soon return to Pueblo to answer for the crimes he has been charged with," Pueblo County Sheriff Taylor said in a statement Sunday.

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