Best of 2012


1. “Pine Ridge Fire grows to 1,500 acres”

On July 27, a large fire started near De Beque that grew and spread rapidly. Over the next two days, Daily Sentinel reporters gave regular online updates about the fire’s progress, smoke health advisories, road closures and evacuations.


2. “Shooter mistakes mohawk for fowl”

Derrill Rockwell was sentenced in March to five years of probation for shooting and injuring a woman he mistook for a bird. The woman, whose hair was fashioned in a red mohawk, was sitting on top of a hill 90 feet away from Rockwell when he shot her in the head with a .22 caliber rifle. He was ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution to the victim.


3. “‘Long journey’ ends with discovery of Paige Birgfeld’s body”

The Mesa County Sheriff’s Department and searchers couldn’t believe they missed the body of Paige Birgfeld during their initial search of a desert area just north of Delta in 2007. Her skeletal remains were discovered in early March, nearly five years later. The story included the reaction of Birgfeld’s father, Frank, as he surveyed the scene.


4. “Affidavit: Mom admits to leaving kids in car”

An affidavit acquired by The Daily Sentinel alleged that Heather Jensen admitted leaving her two sons in her Toyota 4Runner for 90 minutes on Grand Mesa before finding them unconscious in the back seat in November. William, 2, died at the scene, and his 4-year-old brother, Tyler, was taken to Children’s Hospital, where he later died.


5. “Free pickers damage orchard”

An act of generosity backfired in August after an Orchard Mesa couple offered their unsellable peaches to the public for free. Unfortunately, some who showed up damaged water pipes and trees and stole other fruit from neighboring orchards.


6. “Owners of Sullivan’s Grill to sell despite TV makeover”

Three months after a restaurant in Fruita was featured in an episode of The Food Network’s “Restaurant: Impossible,” the owner, Ginny Sullivan, sold the business, citing personal time issues caused by being a single parent.


7. “Fugitive who ditched ‘Dog’ captured by Mexican police”:

Marco Antonio Padilla eluded TV personality and bounty hunter Duane ‘Dog’ Chapman but was captured by Mexican police in Guadalajara, Mexico in early February. Padilla had been wanted in Mesa County on charges including conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Chapman in September 2008 searched over several weeks in Grand Junction, Denver and Pueblo, while arresting three of Padilla’s cohorts along the way, but Padilla eluded capture.


8. “Nationally known ice climber dies”:

Boulder resident and nationally known ice climber Jack Roberts died of an apparent heart attack after falling 60 feet on the Bridal Veil Ice Falls near Telluride in early January.


9. “Tim Sewell remembered as strong, determined cyclist”

A friend of Tim Sewell’s, a well-known local cyclist who took his own life at Cold Shivers Point on Colorado National Monument on July 3, gave a first-hand account of their friendship as a touching memorial and tribute.


10. “Convicted killer who live ‘down the street’ eyed in Taylor slaying”

An arrest warrant was issued for convicted killer Douglas Thames Jr. for the 1994 murder of Jacie Taylor in Palisade. Robert Dewey was exonerated of the murder after spending 16 years in prison.


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