Our Latest News

92-year-old man found dead in home; large quantity of explosives found inside


The body of a Turret man, 92, was discovered in the crawl space of his home by friends who were concerned after hearing nothing from him for over a week.  At first believed to be a suicide, the man’s death is now suspected by authorities to be accidental due to a bizarre series of events.  An autopsy of the victim, Edwin Bartheld, is scheduled for Monday morning.

Shortly before 3:30pm Friday, the sheriff’s communication center received a 911 call from one of the man’s friends reporting the discovery.  Responding deputies were directed to the man’s body in the crawl space beneath the house.  He apparently had been dead for several days. 

Initial observations suggested the man had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, but that was revised after authorities discovered a large cache of explosive devices and chemicals commonly used for manufacturing explosives inside the house.  At that point, deputies and investigators backed out of the house and called for the Colorado Springs Regional Explosives Unit and two nearby HAZMAT teams.  The scene was secured for the evening to allow a closer inspection by specialized units the following day.

On Saturday, members of the bomb squad and HAZMAT teams located large quantities of chemicals commonly used for manufacturing explosives, along with several homemade detonators and homemade explosives inside the house.  The explosives were removed and safely detonated by the specialists while HAZMAT team members identified chemicals and mixtures to assure they were stable prior to their removal from the house.

Once the house was declared safe, the man’s body was removed from the crawl space.  On examination, it appeared to authorities that he had most likely died when one of his homemade devices unintentionally detonated.  No conclusions have been reached at this time however, and the autopsy Monday will disclose additional information about the cause of death.

Information obtained by authorities at this point suggest a motive for the man’s actions, but the case remains under investigation and further details will be released as they are confirmed by investigators. 

Assisting the sheriff’s office on this incident were Chaffee Fire, Chaffee EMS, Chaffee Office of Emergency Management, Salida Fire, the local district attorney’s and coroner’s offices, Colorado Springs Regional Explosives Unit, Park County Fire Department’s HAZMAT unit, and Northeast Teller County HAZMAT.