DENVER (AP/CBS4) – A nationwide search is underway for a former long-distance trucker who is suspected in the deaths of three people in Colorado and is likely on the run rather than hiding out, authorities said Thursday.
Harry Carl Mapps is wanted on charges of first-degree murder and arson in the Nov. 27 shooting deaths and a fire at the home where the bodies were found, Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor said at a news conference in Pueblo.
Mapps, 59, was a friend of one victim and had been staying with him, authorities said. Taylor said the fire was set to cover up the shootings.
He said investigators have some ideas about where Mapps might go but declined to provide details.
“He was an over-the-road truck driver. He’s very familiar with some less-traveled roads across the country,” Taylor said. “He’s very familiar with traveling in particular, so we did take that into consideration.”
Taylor said Mapps should be considered armed and dangerous. He declined to say what kind of weapon he might have.
The bodies of 51-year-old Reginald Tuttle, his wife, 55-year-old Kim Tuttle, and their daughter, 33-year-old Dawn Roderick, were found in the remains of the home outside the small town of Rye.
Roderick lived in nearby Pueblo with her husband and three children and was at her parents’ home at the time of the shootings.
Mapps was a friend of Reginald Tuttle’s and had been working for Tuttle’s trucking company while living with him and his wife, authorities said.
Taylor said investigators have received hundreds of tips and followed all of them. He said Mapps’ last known location was the town of La Junta in southeastern Colorado, where authorities said he cashed a check made out to one of the victims.
An earlier warrant for Mapps’ arrest listed charges of theft, identity theft and forgery, all related to the alleged check theft.
Authorities identified Mapps as a suspect in the deaths three days after the fire, but the murder and arson charges were not announced until Thursday. Taylor said the warrants took time to process.
“The new charges will make him one of the most sought-after fugitives in the country,” the sheriff said. “Law-enforcement agencies nationwide will not want a triple-homicide suspect on the streets.”
The warrant is sealed and no details have been released.
A federal fugitive arrest warrant has also been issued for Mapps, U.S. Marshal John Kammerzell said.
Mapps was initially described as a handyman. His estranged wife, Sandy Mapps, told The Denver Post she ordered him to leave their home in Dimmitt, Texas, last spring. He quit a farm labor job in Texas and moved to Colorado, she said.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)