DENVER (CBS4) – Denver’s Cold Case Review Team has solved four murders, according to the Denver District Attorney’s Office.
Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey and Denver Police Chief Robert White announced Wednesday the four unsolved homicide cases are all linked to the same serial killer.
“The announcement is the result of extensive investigative and forensic work performed by Denver’s Cold Case Review Team,” Lynn Kimbrough with the Denver District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
According to Kimbrough, the U.S. Department of Justice awarded Denver police funds to review more than 250 unsolved murders occurring between 1970 and 1984 under a grant titled “Solving Cold Cases with DNA.”
“During the case review portion of this project, investigators assigned to the Cold Case Unit from the Denver Police Department and the Denver District Attorney’s Office identified Vincent Groves as a suspect in three unsolved murders in 1979 and another unsolved murder in 1988,” Kimbrough said.
DNA tests confirmed a direct link between the homicides and Groves.
The Lakewood Police Department and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation helped with the investigations.
Groves, who would be 57 now, died in prison in 1996.
“I believe he’s the most prolific serial murderer in the history of the state of Colorado who is actually from Colorado,” Morrissey told CBS4. “He usually picked on weaker female victims. They may have been prostitutes; he may have been supplying them with drugs.”
Family members of the victims have been notified.
The victims were as follows:
Emma Jenefor, a 25-year-old woman who was murdered in March 1979. Her body was found in the bathtub of her home in the 100 block of Garfield Street.
Joyce Ramey, a 23-year-old woman who was murdered in July 1979. Her body was found in an industrial park near 56th Avenue and Havana Street.
Peggy Cuff, a 20-year-old woman who was murdered in November 1979. Her body was found in an alley in the 1500 block of south Ogden Street.
Pamela Montgomery, a 35-year-old woman who was murdered in August 1988. Her body was found in an alley in the 1700 block of Locust/Leyden Streets.
“They were women trying to live their lives and their lives were taken from them by Vincent Groves,” Cold Case Unit Det. Mylous Yearling said. “Sex is about empowerment and I think that the ultimate empowerment for him was to the take the lives of other people.”
“Most importantly, the closure of these four cases may provide answers to family members who have gone decades living with questions about the tragic murder of their loved one,” Kimbrough said.
According to The Associated Press, Groves played basketball on a star-filled team for Wheat Ridge High School. The team lost 64-60 to Manuel High School in the 1972 state title game.
Groves was first convicted of second-degree murder in 1982 for killing 17-year-old Tammy Sue Woodrum and was released in 1987 on mandatory parole. In 1990, Groves was sentenced to life in prison for the slaying of 19-year-old Juanita “Becky” Lovato. He was then sentenced to 20 years in prison for second-degree murder in the death of 25-year-old Diane Montoya Mancera.