Douglas County asks for public’s help in solving 43-year-old cold case after suspect dies by suicide

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Posted at 3:41 PM, Mar 07, 2024

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — Authorities in Douglas County are asking for the public’s help to solve a 43-year-old cold case after a suspect arrested by law enforcement died by suicide last year.

James “Jim” Ihm was found dead in unincorporated Douglas County near Fern Creek Road, approximately one mile east of Colorado Highway 67, on March 8, 1981. About two weeks earlier, on Feb. 20, Ihm had planned to meet Richard “Rick” Eastridge, of Littleton, and others, at the Brazenhead Inn in Woodland Park.

Authorities said they planned to meet “to finalize the details of Ihm’s sale of a large amount of marijuana and were going to travel to a secluded area to complete the transaction,” according to a spokesperson with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

Ihm was never heard from again.

The case went cold for nearly 43 years until Eastridge’s arrest on Nov. 8, 2023. Deputies said his arrest came following numerous witness statements, evidence recovered in 1981, evidence analyzed in 2023, and Eastridge’s confession.

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The suspect “implicated himself and others” who planned to rob Ihm of a large amount of marijuana, which ultimately resulted in the murder, deputies said.

While out of custody on bond a week after his arrest, Eastridge took his own life, they added.

“On the eve of the 43rd year since the discovery of Ihm's body, we are seeking the public’s assistance with bringing this case to a final resolution,” investigators said in a news release.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Douglas County Sheriff's Office Cold Case Unit at or 303-660-7528.

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