By Jack Lowenstein

WELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Tuesday night, multiple law enforcement agencies were successful in completing the search and rescue for hostage Oscar Eduardo Valles Avila, 26, in Julesburg, who had been considered missing since this past Saturday night. Avila’s disappearance was connected to a murder investigation. One of the suspects in the investigation was arrested during the same time as Avila’s rescue, while another suspect remained at large Wednesday.

Weld County Sheriff’s Office originally asked for help to solve the murder of 40-year-old Gilbert Gutierrez, who was found dead at a home on Blake Street near Weld County Road 17 near Johnstown last Sunday. Investigators also wanted help to find Avila, who was considered missing at the time.

In the search for Avila, Weld Regional SWAT Team found him at a gas station at about 8:15 p.m. Tuesday off Interstate 76 in Julesburg, which is in Sedgwick County about 6 miles from the Nebraska state line.

Through the investigation, it was learned Avila had a connection to the Julesburg area and might have been taken their by his kidnappers.

According to the Teller County Sheriff’s Office Facebook post, after contacting Avila at the gas station and providing him medical attention, the Weld SWAT Team with elements of the Sedgwick, Phillips and Logan county sheriff’s offices continued to two houses near the intersection of 7th and Oak streets in Julesburg, where two search warrants were executed.

Marco Antonio Gutierrez-Herrera (credit: Teller County Sheriff)

One of two primary suspects, Marco Antonio Gutierrez-Herrera, 40, was arrested and booked into Weld County Jail. He faces charges of second-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, second-degree assault and menacing, all felonies with additional charges are pending.

Stock image (credit: Weld County Sheriff)

(credit: Teller County Sheriff)


The Weld County Sheriff’s Office is actively trying to identify and find the second suspect in the case. The suspect was in Julesburg early Monday in a 2015-2017 white Toyota Camry or similar sedan. He was in the same vehicle in Johnstown the day of the homicide. Detectives also suspect he has ties to the Pueblo area. The man should be considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone with information about this case can call Det. Ong at 970-400-5816. You can also call Weld County Sheriff’s Office at 970-356-4015 or Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Tips can also be submitted through the Crime Stoppers website. Those submitting tips through Crime Stoppers that lead to the arrest and filing of charges on a suspect(s) may be eligible for a cash reward.

Jack Lowenstein