Victim’s name: Frances Earnest, 70
Where body found: Upstairs bedroom on bed
Investigative agency: Denver Police Department
Date killed: July 2, 1986
Cause of Death: Beaten and strangled
Suspect: None identified
Frances Earnest was born during World War I in 1916 on a horse ranch in Boulder.
She went to school until the eighth grade and never married.
Her family was her cats and she had 15 of them after her retirement. She got so many of them, city employees made get rid of some.
Earnest lived in a pea green-colored, two-story stucco house on the 900 block of Vrain Street.
She was a creature of habit, according to a Denver Post news article in 1986.
Every day at 9:30 a.m. going back 20 years she would walk to the home of Jack and Grace Holly to get the previous day’s newspaper. She lived off of her social security check. She was 70.
The Hollys would then see the tiny woman who was only 4-feet-7 on the corner of West 10th Avenue and Vrain, where she would catch a bus to go downtown.
She was so reliable that on July 2, 1986 when she failed to pick up her neighbor’s newspaper and no one saw her walking to the bus stop, there was immediate concern.
Her next door neighbor who often worked in Earnest’s yard and looked out for her noticed that the front door was ajar.
Thinking that her neighbor might have had a heart attack or had fallen, she took her 7-year-old nephew into the house to check on Earnest.
She sent the boy upstairs, but he soon ran back down. His face was pale.
When the neighbor went upstairs to see what was wrong she found Earnest’s body lying on the bed. She was unclothed from the waist down.
Her beloved cat was missing.
Police later reported that she was beaten and strangled and possibly sexually assaulted.
The case was never solved.
Contact information: The Denver Police Department can be reached at 720-913-7867.
Denver Post reporter Kirk Mitchell at 303-954-1206 or firstname.lastname@example.org