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Justices signal they'll OK new abortion limits, may toss Roe

Wed, 12/01/2021 - 10:02

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court’s conservative majority on Wednesday signaled it would uphold Mississippi's 15-week ban on abortion and may go much further to overturn the nationwide right to abortion that has existed for nearly 50 years.

The fate of the court’s historic 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion throughout the United States and its 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed Roe, probably won't be known until next June.

But after nearly two hours of arguments, all six conservative justices, including three appointed by former President Donald Trump, indicated they would uphold the Mississippi law.

Colorado’s Republican U.S. delegates sign brief in support of overturning Roe v. Wade

At the very least, such a decision would undermine Roe and Casey, which allow states to regulate but not ban abortion up until the point of viability, at roughly 24 weeks.

And there was also substantial support among the conservative justices for getting rid of Roe and Casey altogether.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a Trump appointee, asked a series of questions about whether the court would be better off withdrawing from the abortion debate and letting states decide.

“Why should the court be the arbiter?" Kavanaugh asked. “There'll be different access in Mississippi and New York, Alabama and California,.”

Abortion would soon become illegal or severely restricted in roughly half the states if Roe and Casey are overturned, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion rights. Legislatures in many Republican-led states are poised for action depending on the Supreme Court's next decision.

The court’s three liberal justices said that reversing Roe and Casey would significantly damage the court’s legitimacy.

"Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts?” Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked.

Justice Elena Kagan said the abortion decisions are “part of the fabric of women's place in this country.”

Among the conservatives, Chief Justice John Roberts appeared most interested in a less sweeping ruling that would uphold the Mississippi law, but not explicitly overrule Roe and Casey.

Abortion debate epicenter: Mississippi clinic stays open

“That may be what they're asking for, but the thing at issue before us today is 15 weeks,” Roberts said, alluding to Mississippi's call to overturn the broader cases.

Even upholding the 15-week ban would mean rejecting the decades-old viability line. Abortion rights supporters say that would still effectively overturn Roe and leave no principled line for when abortions might be banned.

Justice Neil Gorsuch, another Trump appointee, suggested the lack of a rigorous alternative might be a reason to overrule Roe and Casey entirely.

Supporters of both sides in the abortion debate filled the sidewalk and street in front of the court, their dueling rallies audible even from inside the building. Opposing signs read such sentiments as “Her Body Her Choice” and “God Hates the Shedding of Innocent Blood.” The court stepped up security measures, including closing off some streets around the building.

The case came to a court with a 6-3 conservative majority that has been transformed by the justices named by Trump, who had pledged to appoint justices who oppose abortion rights.

The court had never agreed to hear a case over an abortion ban so early in pregnancy until all three Trump appointees — Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh — were on board.

A month ago, the justices also heard arguments over a uniquely designed Texas law that has succeeded in getting around the Roe and Casey decisions and banned abortions in the nation’s second-largest state after about six weeks of pregnancy. The legal dispute over the Texas law revolves around whether the law can be challenged in federal court, rather than the right to an abortion.

Despite its unusually quick consideration of the issue, the court has yet to rule on the Texas law, and the justices have refused to put the law on hold while the matter is under legal review.

The Mississippi case poses questions central to the abortion right. Mississippi argues that viability of the fetus is an arbitrary standard that doesn’t take sufficient account of the state’s interest in regulating abortion. It also contends that scientific advances have allowed some babies who were born earlier than 24 weeks to survive, though it does not argue that the line is anywhere near 15 weeks.

More than 90% of abortions are performed in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, well before viability, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 100 patients per year get abortions after 15 weeks at the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Mississippi’s lone abortion clinic. The facility does not provide abortions after 16 weeks.

But the clinic argues that the court doesn’t normally assess constitutional rights based on how few people are affected, and that the justices shouldn’t do so in this case.

Joined by the Biden administration, the clinic also says that since Roe, the Supreme Court has consistently held that the “Constitution guarantees ‘the right of the woman to choose to have an abortion before viability.‘”

Erasing viability as the line between when abortions may and may not be banned would effectively overrule Roe and Casey, even if the justices do not explicitly do that, the clinic says.

Justice Clarence Thomas is the only member of the court who has openly called for Roe and Casey to be overruled. One question is how many of his conservative colleagues are willing to join him.

Among the questions justices ask when they consider jettisoning a previous ruling is not just whether it is wrong, but egregiously so.

That’s a formulation Kavanaugh has used in a recent opinion, and Mississippi and many of its allies have devoted considerable space in their court filings to argue that Roe and Casey fit the description of being egregiously wrong.

“The conclusion that abortion is a constitutional right has no basis in text, structure, history, or tradition,” Mississippi says.

The clinic responds by arguing that the very same arguments were considered and rejected by the court nearly 30 years ago in Casey. Only the membership of the court has changed since then, the clinic and its allies argue.

US abortions may be inching up after decades of decline

In its earlier rulings, the court has rooted the right to abortion in the section of the 14th Amendment that says states cannot “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

Same-sex marriage and other rights, based on the same provision but also not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, could be threatened if Roe and Casey fall, the administration argues. Mississippi and its supporters dispute that those other decisions would be at risk.

Abortion arguments normally would find people camped out in front of the court for days in the hope of snagging some of the few seats available to the public. But with the courthouse closed because of COVID-19, there was only a sparse audience of reporters, justices’ law clerks and a handful of lawyers inside the courtroom.

A decision is expected by late June, a little more than four months before next year’s congressional elections, and could become a campaign season rallying cry.

15-year-old girl missing in Lakewood since early November

Wed, 12/01/2021 - 09:55

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (KDVR) -- The Lakewood Police Department is asking for the public's help to find a 15-year-old girl who has not been seen since early November.

Police said they believe Laila Rojas-Garibay is a runaway. She was last seen wearing a gray hoodie that says "obey" in white lettering, blue jeans, and Black Air Force Nikes.

Man arrested, charged with sex assault after Amber Alert investigation

Rojas-Garibay is described as:

  • 5 feet, 3 inches tall
  • 110 pounds
  • Brunette hair
  • Hazel eyes

If you have information on Rojas-Garibay, please call the tip line at 303-763-6800.

Where is the cheapest gas in Colorado? 10 lowest prices on Dec. 1

Wed, 12/01/2021 - 08:05

DENVER (KDVR) — Is it time to head to the pump and fill up your gas tank? Gas prices remain high across the country, including right here in Colorado.

According to AAA, the average price for a gallon of gas in Colorado is $3.43 for regular fuel. The national average is $3.38.

Why this warm November is a bad sign for snow lovers in Denver

The lowest price for a gallon of regular gas in Colorado is $2.67.

As of Wednesday at 6 a.m., these are the 10 cheapest gas stops in Colorado for regular fuel, according to GasBuddy.com.

  1. Circle K- Fort Lupton: $2.67
  2. Phillips 66-Fort Lupton: $2.69
  3. Sinclair-Evans: $2.85
  4. Murphy Express- Littleton: $2.85
  5. Circle K- Littleton (Littleton Blvd.): $2.85
  6. Circle K- Littleton (S. Broadway): $2.87
  7. Costco- Littleton: $2.88
  8. Costco- Sheridan: $2.88
  9. Sam’s Club- Aurora: $2.89
  10. Sinclair- Aurora: $2.92

Denver ties high-temperature record of 73 degrees; Next chance for snow is December 7

Wed, 12/01/2021 - 07:32

DENVER (KDVR) -- Denver tied a record high-temperature Wednesday of 73 degrees, which was set in 1973. The normal high right now is 47 degrees.

Today is the first day of Meteorological Winter, but it sure won't feel like it!

The mountains will stay dry and abnormally warm with highs in the 50s.

Why this warm November is a bad sign for snow lovers in Denver

On Thursday, conditions will stay warm and you can expect another day in the low 70s, just below the record of 74 degrees.

It will be dry through this weekend statewide. Front Range highs on Saturday and Sunday will be in the upper-50s.

Our next chance for rain/snow arrives Dec. 7 with the best chance for snow in the mountains.

December 7, 2021 Future Radar & Satellite.

Concerned about air quality in your neighborhood? Colorado wants your feedback

Wed, 12/01/2021 - 00:54

DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado is working to "right past wrongs" in communities disproportionately impacted by environmental harms under a new environmental justice law passed this year.

The Environmental Justice Act, which the Democrat-controlled legislature passed over the summer, focuses on environmental justice in a number of ways, including by involving communities in decisions that could have negative impacts on their health.

Suncor would face tougher water pollution rules under draft permit

Some Colorado communities "bear a disproportionate burden of environmental and health harm," the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division wrote in a press release. "In order to right past wrongs, we must focus on, listen to and learn from disproportionately impacted community voices."

The law defines "disproportionately impacted communities" as those in areas where at least 40% of households are low-income, people of color or burdened by housing costs. A state agency could also designate an area as such if it has a history of exclusionary laws, like redlining, or where multiple factors contribute to public health and environmental disparities.

Communities who suffer long-term exposure to fine particle air pollution, like those who live near highways and industrial sites, have been shown to suffer worse health outcomes, according to state research that looked into COVID-19 at the census-level tract.

Air quality community meetings

Part of the act requires the division to reach out to the communities for feedback and involvement and be transparent about how its actions could have adverse effects.

The Air Quality Control Commission has already hosted meetings this fall on lead-based paint, regional haze and oil and gas emissions.

What makes Denver’s air quality go bad? It’s not just fires

Another meeting on oil and gas emissions is set for Saturday.

The community session will last 90 minutes. It will allow public comment on air quality and air pollution and will also "inform the public of the content of upcoming air decisions (in layperson terms)," according to the AQCC.

They will also provide information on how community members can stay involved on the issue.

Air quality meeting info

There will be an opportunity at the end of the meeting to ask questions or provide comments, or you can submit a question or comment before the meeting using this form.

View the meeting notice in Spanish.

Woman dies after being hit by car, dog missing after crash

Tue, 11/30/2021 - 23:58

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (KDVR) — A woman died Monday after being hit by a driver in Westminster, and her dog, Zoe, is missing after the crash.

A driver crashed into Peggy Clark, 66, at 100th Avenue and Federal Boulevard.

"From what the police say, somebody was making a turn, but the sunshine was in his eyes, so, he didn’t see my mom and hit her," Clark's daughter, Kayla Mumby, said.

If you can stand, you can ride: 1-year-old has epic 1st day on the slopes Peggy Clark was hit by a driver and died on Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. Her dog, Zoe, went missing. (Photo courtesy of family)

A day later, Mumby continues to comb the area in hopes of finding the missing pup.

"The smallest thing I can do for my mother is find her dog," she said.

Zoe may be injured and is very timid.

Please contact the Westminster Police Department at (303) 658-4360 if you see Zoe or know where she is.

Skier dies at Eldora Mountain after collision with snowboarder

Tue, 11/30/2021 - 22:53

ELDORA, Colo. (KDVR) — A 72-year-old skier died on Eldora Mountain Tuesday following a collision with a snowboarder on the Windmill run.

"Our ski patrol received a report of a person-to-person collision on the slopes," Sam Bass with Eldora Ski Resort said.

According to the Boulder County Sheriff's Office, who is currently investigating the accident, once ski patrol was on scene they continued resuscitative efforts, including CPR, and a medical helicopter was placed on air standby.

Flight For Life already responding to ski mountain emergencies

Unfortunately, the 72-year-old skier, a Boulder man, was ultimately pronounced dead at the scene at 11:43 a.m.

"It's something always hard to deal with and we are heartbroken here at Eldora," Bass said.  

According to BCSO, the snowboarder was interviewed and treated on scene for his injuries from the collision. As of right now, no criminal charges have been filed.

"No matter your age or ability please ski and ride slow and respectfully. Be aware of your surroundings and the responsibility code. It's something every skier and ride should know about," Bass said.

Responsibility code for skiers, snowboarders

According to Eldora's website, the National Ski Areas Association established "Your Responsibility Code" in 1966 as a code of ethics for all skiers on the mountain. Today, the code reflects not only skier safety, but snowboarder and lift safety as well. Those codes include:

  • Always remain in control and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
  • People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
  • Do not stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible from above.
  • Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
  • Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
  • Observe all posted signs and warnings.
  • Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
  • Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride, & unload safely.
  • Freestyle Terrain Use Guidelines
How many complaints have counties received since mask mandates were issued?

According to the Colorado Ski Safety Act, which was implemented in 1979:

Under Colorado law, a skier assumes the risk of injury to person or property resulting from any of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing and may not recover from any ski area operator for any injury resulting from any of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing, including changing weather conditions, existing and changing snow conditions, bare spots, rocks, stumps, trees, cliffs, extreme terrain, jumps and freestyle terrain, collision with natural objects, man-made objects or other skiers, variations in terrain, and the failure of skiers to ski within their own abilities.

 

New antiviral pill provides flexibility in treating COVID-19

Tue, 11/30/2021 - 21:29

DENVER (KDVR) -- A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Tuesday voted to recommend approval of a new antiviral pill to fight COVID-19. The recommendation was narrowly pushed through in a vote of 13 to 10. Physicians say the treatment will not be a wonder drug that ends the pandemic, but it is another tool that can be used to save lives.

“Any little assistance in the arsenal is appreciated,” said Dr. James Neid with The Medical Center of Aurora.

Neid is the director of infection prevention at the center. He said the new Merck pill, molnupiravir, attempts to trick the coronavirus into creating miscopies of itself. Another antiviral treatment, monoclonal antibodies, coats the virus to assist the immune system in eradicating the disease.

FDA advisers narrowly endorse Merck’s COVID-19 antiviral pill

Neid said the efficacy of the latest treatment is not exactly where the medical community would want it to be.

“This is a step in the right direction,” Neid said. “I’m not sure that it’s going to be the be-all end-all.”

The drug is intended for those who are high risk-- who are more likely to become seriously ill. It is not recommended for children or those who are pregnant.

“It should not dissuade anybody from doing what is well known to be successful, which is being vaccinated,” Neid said.

Physicians said it would be a mistake for anyone to avoid being vaccinated because they believe a pill will save them. COVID-19 treatments are only effective during specific time windows of viral replication.

“The vast majority of the time your window has kind of opened and shut before the antiviral even has a chance to do its best job,” Neid warned.

Colorado professor advising World Health Organization in addressing the omicron variant

There are promising signs moving forward. Just as years of research and the latest treatments have been game-changers in the fight against HIV, scientists are also working on more effective treatments to push back against COVID-19.

“Now we’re just waiting for the best agent to come along that can be mass-produced and mass-distributed,” Neid said.

The FDA panel recommendation suggests there is no overwhelming risk to taking the drug. However, more of an accurate safety profile will be realized as more people take molnupiravir.

Passenger bus stopped after reports of human trafficking case onboard

Tue, 11/30/2021 - 21:08

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — The investigation continues into what Denver Police are describing as a case of possible human trafficking.

Shortly after police said they were working on what could be a kidnapping, Denver police officers and patrol cars stopped and searched a Greyhound bus just north of Castle Rock Monday night.

‘You don’t want to mess with me’: Brighton councilor charged with DUI

A Fox News Channel photographer happened to be driving in the area and saw the bus surrounded by law enforcement officers.

Photographer Shane Anthony saw passengers standing outside the bus near Founders Parkway. He noticed police talking to passengers and searching the luggage compartment.

Denver police tell FOX31 they received a report of a possible human trafficking situation that may have originated out of state. A public information officer said the bus was stopped after a 911 call was made saying there was concern some kind of human trafficking case was taking place on the bus.

The race to help fight human trafficking

Investigators say an adult female was located and is now safe and The Denver Police Human Trafficking Unit is investigating this incident. They tell us they are also trying to develop suspect information however no one has been arrested at this time.

Photo gallery: Sunset illuminates sky over Colorado

Tue, 11/30/2021 - 20:16

DENVER (KDVR) — Coloradans were treated to an illuminated sky Tuesday evening as the sun set behind the Rocky Mountains.

Here's a glimpse at the scene.

Sunset photo gallery
  • The sky is illuminated as the sun sets behind the Rocky Mountains after daytime high temperatures were notched above the 60-degree mark Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in Denver. Forecasters predict that the unseasonably warm weather will continue in the intermountain West through at least the first couple of weeks of December, raising concerns about wildland fire dangers in a region parched for precipitation. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
  • The sun sets in Denver on Nov. 30, 2021. (Shaul Turner, KDVR)
  • Sunset at Eldora Mountain (Courtney Fromm, KDVR)
  • The sunset as seen from Staunton State Park on Nov. 30, 2021. (Credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife Ranger Andrea)

Basalt-area masseur arrested for alleged sexual assault

Tue, 11/30/2021 - 19:49

EAGLE, Colo. (KDVR) — A Basalt area masseur was advised Tuesday of three charges against him in an alleged sexual assault that occurred on Nov. 22.

Nathaniel David Gordon of New Castle, Colo., was arrested by the Basalt Police Department on Nov. 24 and has been advised of three charges: sexual assault, unlawful sexual contact and criminal invasion of privacy.

Metro Denver Crime Stoppers offering $2,000 reward identifying Westminster bank robber

The court issued a $25,000 personal recognizance bond with the condition that Gordon is not allowed to perform any massages.

Gordon's next court date is scheduled for Dec. 7 at 1:30 p.m.

Anyone with information about the alleged crimes or any victims of the crimes is asked to contact the Basalt Police Department at 970-927-4316 or the District Attorney's Office at 970-328-6947.

Grieving father remembers teen killed in Aurora shootout

Tue, 11/30/2021 - 19:45

AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — A 17-year-old shot and killed after allegedly exchanging gunfire with a former Greenwood Village police officer has been identified as Peyton Blitstein.

The Arapahoe County Coroner’s Office released the teen's identity and ruled his death a homicide.

Blitstein’s father, Todd Blitstein, spoke to the media on Tuesday.

"There will never be another Thanksgiving the same," he said.

'I didn't want to see my boy hit the ground'

Blitstein recalled the painful moment when police knocked on his door at 4:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving, delivering the news about his son.

Man accused of raping, videotaping intoxicated woman extradited from Ecuador

"I said, 'Is he alright?' He said, 'No,' and that’s when I asked him. He said, 'He’s gone,'" Todd Blitstein said. "You just hope you can get the right information out so that people know who he actually was and what he was all about."

The teen's dad did not say whether Peyton was armed or why he may have shot his gun. He did say Peyton and the teens were dropping off one of their friends on Addison Way.

Blitstein said Peyton loved sharing mozzarella sticks with his dad. He loved spending time with his older brother, and his grandmother was his world.

"The biggest thing was when it came to grandma and Peyton time, he loved staying home watching Hallmark and 'Murder, She Wrote' with her," Blitstein said.

Blitstein said he saw only a few seconds of surveillance footage, hoping it could answer questions about what led up to his son’s death.

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"I didn’t want to see my boy hit the ground, I didn’t want to hear the sound," Blitstein said. "I don’t know what happened that night. I don’t know why things went down the way they did, but I know with what I’ve seen, that it didn’t have to. I want the situation to be handled to the fullest extent."

Surveillance video shows argument

Surveillance video shows the escalation of the argument and the shots fired. Aurora police say it started as a confrontation between an adult and a group of teenagers over a careless driving incident. As the argument escalated, shots were fired.

Adam Holen, 36, has been identified as the former police officer in the gunfire exchange. The teen later died, and Holen was treated for a non-life-threatening gunshot wound.

Investigators continue to work on figuring out who was the aggressor in the situation and whether or not any charges will be filed.

Peyton Blitstein’s uncle created a GoFundMe for the family.

Near-record heat expected next 2 days, chance for mountain snow next week

Tue, 11/30/2021 - 18:49

DENVER (KDVR) — Temperatures will heat up to the 70s on Wednesday and will be close to record-high temperatures.

The record high on Wednesday is 73 degrees, which was set in 1973. Wednesday will be sunny and dry across the state.

How will Colorado handle new variant? State health leaders provide update

Thursday will also reach the 70s and will be close to the record high temperature of 74 degrees.

Temperatures will cool slightly into the weekend with highs in the upper 50s. Dry weather is expected on the Front Range through Monday.

The next storm system to impact Colorado will move in Monday and Tuesday of next week, which will finally bring a chance of snow to the mountains.

FDA advisers narrowly endorse Merck's COVID-19 antiviral pill

Tue, 11/30/2021 - 18:31

(The Hill) - An advisory group for the Food and Drug Administration has voted to recommend Merck’s COVID-19 antiviral pill for infected adults at high risk for severe coronavirus illness, hospitalization or death.

The panel narrowly endorsed Merck’s five-day oral treatment in a 13-10 vote on Tuesday.

The advisers recommended the FDA authorize the pill, developed with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, for adult patients enduring mild-to-moderate COVID-19 who face a higher risk of serious illness, including due to underlying health conditions.

Approval of these pills could expand accessibility with at-home COVID-19 treatments, pending FDA authorization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approval. The U.S. has already agreed to buy 3.1 million courses of the drug, with the option to purchase more.

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Antiviral COVID-19 drugs have been considered a potential game changer in the pandemic, since all current drugs require an injection or IV. Other pills are in development, including Paxlovid from Pfizer, which requested FDA authorization earlier this month. 

The vote comes after the FDA released its review of Merck’s data on the drug last week that concluded molnupiravir's effectiveness but raised concerns about its effects on pregnant people. 

Merck representatives recommended during the meeting that people who are pregnant or breastfeeding do not take the pills due to potential risks, including possible toxicity and birth defects. 

The pharmaceutical company suggested women at childbearing age use contraception while receiving molnupiravir. Merck plans to launch a pregnancy surveillance program to further track the drug’s effects on pregnant people. 

Merck is also not currently seeking authorization for the pill to be administered to children.

Some experts expressed worries that the drug, which inserts small errors into the virus’s genetic code to prevent replication, could spark the virus to mutate into more dangerous strains, although the FDA considers the issue a “theoretical” concern.

The drug manufacturer filed for an emergency use authorization last month after its study suggested molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization by 50 percent. But updated data from Friday showed a 30 percent reduction in hospitalizations among more participants. 

Omicron: What we know and don’t know about new COVID variant

Merck’s pill would not function as a preventative treatment as it would be administered to already infected individuals to avoid worse outcomes. 

The treatment is not designed to replace vaccinations as COVID-19 vaccines would still be needed to stop infection in the first place. Merck did not study the drug’s effects among vaccinated people. 

The advisers’ decision also comes as anxiety has mounted over the World Health Organization’s most recent variant of concern: the omicron strain.

A Merck representative told the FDA in the meeting that the company has not tested molnupiravir against the omicron variant, but they expect the pill to remain effective against the strain.

Man facing 126 sexual assault charges extradited from Ecuador, returned to Jefferson County

Tue, 11/30/2021 - 18:21

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) -- A man accused of sexually assaulting an incapacitated woman in 2016 was extradited from Ecuador by the Federal Bureau of Investigation last week.

Peter Dettmer, 69, is facing 126 sexual assault charges from an incident in Golden. Witnesses called police on June 10, 2016, to report the possible sexual assault happening at Millstone Condos.

Denver police investigating possible human trafficking incident

A responding Golden Police Department officer arrived and observed Dettmer and the woman through an uncovered window in the apartment from a distance.

The officer directed other officers to the location and when they knocked on the door, Dettmer asked why he should open the door. The officer running surveillance saw Dettmer run into another room and instructed the officers to make an emergency entrance due to the possible imminent danger the woman was in. After physically resisting, Dettmer was arrested by GPD.

He posted a $2,000 bond and then disappeared.

Suspect found in Ecuador

Dettmer was arrested in Cuenca, Ecuador, on April 27, but the FBI returned him to Jefferson County on Nov. 24. The charges he is facing are:

  • 63 counts of Sexual Assault – Victim Helpless (F3 felony)
  • 1 count of Sexual Assault – Victim Incapable due to Force/Drugs/Other (F3 felony)
  • 62 counts of Sexual Assault – Victim Incapable (F4 felony)
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Dettmer's first court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 1.

Former FBI Special Agent Bob Pence says it's uncommon to find fugitives that far away, and says the FBI likely received a tip that Dettmer was in Ecuador.

"They might have an exact location, or it might just be that we hear that he might be somewhere in Ecuador," says Pence. "And then this fugitive investigation would be conducted by Ecuador.”

Pence says the FBI has field offices in more than 70 countries, including one next to Ecuador in Colombia.

Ultimately, he says Ecuadorian authorities would be the ones to make any sort of arrest, making worldwide partnerships extremely valuable.

"Outside the United States, the FBI has no authority to conduct those investigations, no authority to carry weapons normally, and no authority to make arrests," says Pence. "So it’s a liaison-type responsibility, and we work with the host countries, and do it very successfully around the world.”

$2,000 reward offered for help identifying Westminster bank robber

Tue, 11/30/2021 - 17:52

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (KDVR) — Westminster Police Department and the Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force are asking for your help identifying a lone bank robber.

The robbery occurred on Nov. 29 around 4:26 p.m. at the Huntington Bank at 7206 Federal Blvd.

Denver police investigating possible human trafficking incident

The robber is described as a Hispanic man in his late 40s or 50s, 5-foot-7 with a slender build and possibly a beard. The man was seen wearing glasses, a black jacket, a ball cap, black jeans, and black and white shoes.

Metro Denver Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,000 reward for any information on this man.

Anyone with any information can leave a tip with the Metro Denver Crime Stoppers tip line at 720-913-STOP. Tipsters can remain anonymous and still be eligible for the reward.

Colorado professor advising World Health Organization in addressing the omicron variant

Tue, 11/30/2021 - 16:46

AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) -- It's a busy time for Dr. May Chu, a clinical professor at the Colorado School of Public Health at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

Chu is an expert advisor for the World Health Organization, and she is helping to tackle the omicron variant with her colleagues around the world.

More COVID coverage: How coronavirus variants have acted in Colorado’s past

"There's been a flurry of meetings and we have joined on a number of those meetings to talk about sort of hot-off-the-press observations by South African scientists who are working really, really hard on this," Chu said.

The early observations of the omicron variant show some differences.

"What the doctors say now at very early stages is that it's much more flu-like in soreness and being fatigued and muscle soreness and fever, and that they don't know all the severe outcomes of it yet, because it's too early," Chu said. 

Studies are now underway looking at the severity of the symptoms, how easily the virus spreads, and how well the current vaccines work against it.

"It could be that we are going to have less protection because some of it's going to be mutated, but not all of it. So, the protection is likely still there. We won't know for another two or three weeks on the studies that are being done in South Africa right now," Chu said. 

Are COVID-19 rates dropping in Colorado? See where every county stands

She believes it's likely the omicron variant is already in the United States but has not been detected yet. But, she said there's no reason to panic if you're making informed decisions.

"This is public health trying to let people know what's coming. It's not doomsday, but we also need to be very careful," she said.

Chu expects to have more information from the studies in two weeks. Until then she says to continue taking precautions, get vaccinated and get boosted.

How coronavirus variants have acted in Colorado's past

Tue, 11/30/2021 - 16:08

DENVER (KDVR) -- New variants of the coronavirus are scary, but public health data doesn't suggest a largescale panic.

Fears of the newly-discovered omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have caused a stock market tumble, bans on foreign travel and an emergency disaster declaration in New York - though it hasn't been discovered in Colorado. According to Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment data, though, previous variants weren't associated with big upward swings in COVID numbers.

How will Colorado handle new variant? State health leaders provide update

The World Health Organization has identified 10 variants, each with one or more sub-mutations. CDPHE has found nine variants of concern in Colorado. Few really took off in the Centennial State. Of the nine variants, only the B.1.1.7, B.1.429 and AY.1 variants ever made up more than 20% of the variants identified in any given week.

Since the B.1.1.7 variant was identified in Dec. 2020, most of the variants found in Colorado have been the AY.1, or delta, variant.

Public health data does not confirm or disconfirm variants' ability to make people sicker or die in higher numbers, at least in real-time.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the B.1.1.7 variant was never associated with worse clinical outcomes but rather increased transmission. Other studies claimed it was deadlier. Officials and scientists had the same arguments about the delta variant and are now having them about the omicron variant.

Are COVID-19 rates dropping in Colorado? See where every county stands

As the epidemiology is hazy about variants leading to more deaths or serious illness, so is the public data. Other factors play major roles, but whether it's cases, deaths or hospitalizations, there's little evidence that the heavy presence of variants alone directly leads to upticks in numbers even though they are more transmissible.

The B.1.1.7, B.1.429 and delta variants were found in Colorado on Dec. 27, 2020, Jan. 10, 2021 and April 17, 2021, respectively.

Cases went down after the B.1.429 and delta strains were found. They rose after the B.1.1.7 variant was found, but this may be simply due to a post-Christmas glut of cases being reported.

Both hospitalizations and deaths went down after the B.1.1.7 and B.1.429 variants were found. After the delta variant was identified, hospitalizations went up. They did, however, plummet a few weeks afterward even as the delta strain itself became more prevalent and public health restrictions were loosened.

3 students killed, 6 others wounded at Michigan school, authorities say

Tue, 11/30/2021 - 15:28

OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A 15-year-old sophomore opened fire at his Michigan high school on Tuesday, killing three students and wounding six other people, including a teacher, authorities said.

Oakland County Undersheriff Mike McCabe said at a news conference that he didn't know what the assailant's motives were for the attack at Oxford High School in Oxford Township, a community of about 22,000 people roughly 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Detroit.

Officers responded at around 12:55 p.m. to a flood of 911 calls about an active shooter at the school, McCabe said. Authorities arrested the suspect at the school and recovered a semi-automatic handgun and several clips.

“Deputies confronted him, he had the weapon on him, they took him into custody,” McCabe said, adding that the suspect wasn't hurt when he was taken into custody and he refused to say how he got the gun into the school.

Authorities didn’t immediately release the names of the suspect or victims.

3 teens arrested in shooting at suburban Denver high school

Tim Throne, the superintendent of Oxford Community Schools, said he didn't yet know the victims' names or whether their families had been contacted.

“I’m shocked. It’s devastating,” the shaken superintendent told reporters.

The school was placed on lockdown after the attack, with some children sheltering in locked classrooms while officers searched the premises. They were later taken to a nearby Meijer grocery store to be picked up by their parents.

McCabe said investigators would be looking through social media posts for any evidence of a possible motive.

Robin Redding, the parent of a 12th-grader, told The Associated Press that there had been rumblings of trouble at the school.

“He was not in school today. He just said that ‘Ma I don’t feel comfortable. None of the kids that we go to school with are going today,’” Redding said.

How will Colorado handle new variant? State health leaders provide update

Tue, 11/30/2021 - 15:17

DENVER (KDVR) — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment provided an update on COVID-19 in our state on Tuesday, as local doctors told FOX31 they believe the newly-identified omicron variant could be in the state soon.

Local doctors believe omicron variant could come to Colorado soon

This comes as some COVID-19 metrics are dropping in Colorado, but positivity rates remain high across the state compared to the rest of the country.

Dr. Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist, Rachel Jervis, epidemiologist and Emily Travanty, state lab director addressed how they're using wastewater to determine COVID-19 transmissibility in the community, and how that impacts genome testing for variants.

"In Colorado, we have three different ways in which we are currently on the lookout for this variant," Travanty said. "The first is diagnostic testing, followed by genetic sequencing. Then there's one last method. Wastewater sequence surveillance: this allows us to look through genetic markers indicative of variants within wastewater. Variants can be detected through wastewater sooner than through clinical samples and the state lab has recently updated our processes and can now detect these markers." 

The state's been partnering with 21 wastewater utilities and Colorado State University since August of last year, looking at two samples from each utility per week to find out what's going on with COVID in our community.

"Wastewater monitoring is a COVID-19 early warning system. We've learned that almost 50% of people who have COVID will shed some virus in their stool regardless of whether or not they have symptoms," said Jervis.

Are COVID-19 rates dropping in Colorado? See where every county stands

The state said that's how delta was first found in Colorado and now they are looking for omicron this way too. The health leaders said it gives them a better view of what's going on.

"When we're sequencing at a clinical sample, we're looking at just the virus that's present in one single patient whereas, with wastewater, we're looking at a pooled sample containing virus from multiple people, all in the same sample. This allows us to get a snapshot view of what might be circulating in a whole community," Travanty said.

Cases are slowly coming down around the state but Herlihy said this could just be due to a lag in testing and data reporting because of the holiday last week. The doctors said reinfection is a possibility they worry about with omicron.