By Tom Mustin
WARD, Colo. (CBS4) – A 71-year-old woman was attacked by a teenager she tried to help and police need help finding the suspect.
Katie Kulpa picked up a group of hitchhikers Monday night in Lefthand Canyon. Boulder County deputies say Jeffrey Collins, 16, later beat her and there’s an active warrant out for his arrest.
“I’m in agony over what’s happened with her,” said Boulder County resident Donna Gail.
Gail is still stunned after the brutal attack on her neighbor, Kulpa.
“I’m more than upset and concerned, and want this person found as soon as possible,” she told CBS4’s Tom Mustin.
Monday night Kulpa picked up three teenage hitchhikers, including Collins, near her home on Lefthand Canyon Drive. She brought them to her mountain cabin to wait for their ride.
“You can’t be lost in this canyon or have a flat tire without five people stopping to help,” said Gail.
Detective Cmdr. Steve Cullen says the three teens had been camping in the area. Inside the home, without warning, Collins struck Kulpa on the head with a fire poker, causing multiple fractures and head trauma.
“At one point there was talk by the suspect of stealing her car. The others didn’t like that. But it came as a surprise, the suspect, out of the blue, struck her on the head,” said Cullen.
Colllins, from Arvada, has a previous record in Colorado. He fled the scene and hitchhiked up the canyon. His teenage friends ran to a neighbor’s house to get help.
“The other two were the ones who went to a neighbor’s house and called the sheriff’s office and called for medical to come help her out,” said Cullen.
Gail says the attack has shaken her community.
“Just a tragedy. Someone being repaid for kindness this way. Everyone is affected because we’re close knit-up here.”
The sheriff’s office says Collins should be considered dangerous. Gail says she and her neighbors will keep their doors locked until he’s found.
“I hope they throw the book at him.”
Kulpa is in the intensive care unit at Boulder Community Hospital in serious condition.
Additional Information From The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office
Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact Detective Jason Shatek at (303) 441-3641. If anyone has information but would like to remain anonymous, please contact Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit their website at www.nococrimestoppers.com. Those who provide information leading to the identification of a suspect could be eligible to receive a reward of up to $1,000.