By Jeff Todd
BROOMFIELD, Colo. (CBS4)– The case of a severed goat head found in a cemetery has been closed by Broomfield police without an arrest.
The head was found Feb. 27 by the Olinger Evergreen Cemetery superintendent. It was wrapped up in a black shirt and propped up against the tree.
Inside the mouth of the goat head were writings, photos of an Adams County judge and two caseworkers curled up inside a single handcuff.
Broomfield detectives spent weeks looking into the case and using resources throughout the Front Range. Investigators got close to identifying at least one suspect from a court case in Adams County but in the end the evidence was circumstantial and no charges could be filed.
Security at the Adams County Courthouse was increased, but the investigation suggests the detectives traced the goat head from a farm in Grand Junction, to a livestock auction in Fort Collins to a farm in Fort Lupton but the small farm didn’t remember selling the goat to any individuals- a dead end for investigators.
Broomfield police detectives leaned on expertise from some unlikely sources. A slaughterhouse in Fort Collins told investigators the photo of the goat head didn’t appear to be from a USDA-certified facility but did look like it was cut off the body by someone who knew what they were doing.
One investigator visited a shop in Denver and spoke to people familiar with animal sacrifice. They told the officer the scene at the cemetery didn’t sound like Santeria but was closer to the religion Palo or “Brujeria” which is Spanish for “Witchcraft.”
The shop employees told the investigator if the head wasn’t buried then the person who left it there didn’t wish harm on the intended targets but instead wished they would remain silent, presumably praying a court case would simply go away.
The case was ultimately deemed unfounded and closed by police.
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.