Family questions official cause of death of Adams County victim's advocate

Posted at 10:10 PM, Aug 16, 2019

BRIGHTON, Colo. -- The details surrounding the mysterious death of an Adams County victim's advocate are both strange and disturbing.

Court documents obtained by Denver7 reveal 36-year-old Kate Petrocco was in an abusive marriage and was found dead inside her Brighton home a month ago, on July 14, 2019.

Court documents also reveal Petrocco was in a romantic relationship with the married Adams County district attorney, Dave Young.

Although the coroner’s preliminary investigation show’s her death to be suicide, her family believes she’s a victim.

"This is a tragedy and whether it's ruled a suicide or not, in some form or another - domestic violence broke and killed my sister," said Kate's sister, Moira Sharkey.

Sharkey says Kate's divorce from David Petrocco, Jr. was just days from being finalized.

In a separate twist, the family also wants Young to be “firewalled” from the investigation into Kate’s death because of the affair between the two.

In a sworn affidavit obtained by Denver7, Kate wrote that she and Young had been involved in a “romantic relationship” since late 2018.

Sgt. Paul Gregory said the investigation into Petrocco's death remains open, but he would not offer further details.

The Adams County Coroner’s Office has not yet officially ruled on the cause and manner of Petrocco's death. It's awaiting toxicology results from the CBI, which could take six-to-eight weeks, according to experts.

Petrocco previously worked for Petrocco Farms, the prominent business owned by her husband's family that supplies produce across Colorado and the region.

Going back to January 2018, according to court records, Petrocco filed a protection order against her husband, David.

In an affidavit, Kate says in one instance David came home intoxicated, 'pulled the children out of bed and made them sit in our bedroom...' as he yelled at them and Kate about, ' I ruined his life and broke his heart.'

In another incident, Kate says David '...put his hands around my neck and started choking me.'

Kate goes on saying, '...he threatens to kill himself or me... he has told me he knows people who can make me disappear.'

In April 2018, David pleaded guilty to domestic violence and got a deferred sentence, according to the same court records.

By then, Kate had filed for divorce.

Separate court documents obtained by Denver7 suggest that Kate went to work for the Adams County DA's office in August 2018.

Then, in February 2019, Kate filed another court document stating she was, 'involved in a romantic relationship with Dave Young.'

In that document, she asked for the judge in her divorce case to be removed because of that judge's apparent issues with her new lover.

Dave Young said if the sheriff's office decides to involve the district attorney's office in this investigation, he would recuse himself and, 'a special prosecutor would... be assigned.'

An attorney for David, Jr. and the Petrocco family said it would be inappropriate to comment right now because it would look like they were trying to refute what are simply rumors at the moment.

David now has full custody of the couple's two children.