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Follow-up release re: 92-year-old Turret man found dead in home


Results of the autopsy performed Monday on deceased Turret resident Edwin Bartheld determined that death was caused by a small projectile that entered the front of the man’s throat, traveled at an upward angle, severed his spinal cord and lodged in his skull.  The projectile is in the custody of the sheriff’s office.  It appears to be a .22 caliber bullet but the degree of deformation makes a positive identification of the projectile difficult.  It is anticipated that the item will be submitted to CBI for analysis.  A .22 caliber semiautomatic handgun was found beneath the man’s body in the crawl space.  Manner of death –accident, suicide, homicide– awaits further analysis.

Early this morning, deputies returned to the house where the man’s body was discovered to begin a grid search of the crawl space dirt surface.  As they began, they noticed two fifty-pound bags of ammonium nitrate partially covered by a tarp.  These items had been left in place by bomb squad officers, as the substance is stable.  However, once the tarp was removed deputies discovered that both bags had been rigged with detonators, not observed the previous day.  The Colorado Springs Regional Explosives Unit responded, removed the bags, and safely disposed of the detonators.  

At present, deputies are in the cramped crawl space removing dirt using hand tools and plastic buckets, and examining the material with a sifter in an effort to discover additional evidence to trace the events leading to the man’s death.  Investigators have interviewed the property owners, a Florida couple, and others, and continue their investigation into the incident.