Littleton Police search landfill for evidence in missing woman Charlene Voight's case

Posted at 11:15 AM, Nov 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-15 01:07:31-05

LITTLETON, Colo. -- A 36-year-old Littleton woman has been missing since July, but she hasn't been forgotten by friends, family and certainly not police. 

Officers announced Monday they began searching a landfill in Commerce City to look for Charlene Voight's body, or evidence that might be related to her disappearance. 

The search at 8480 Tower Road in Commerce City will continue through the day, but police didn't say when it would end.

"We're in this for the long haul. We could be out here for months," a Littleton Police Department official said Monday." 

Roughly 20 people, including those who can operate heavy machinery will continue to pore through the garbage, which they say is fairly well sorted by date deposited. As for what police are on the hunt for, they said just about anything. 

"We are looking for any evidence. It could be evidence related to the case, or it could be remains," the police official said. 

Police say the investigation led them to the landfill at this point, but couldn't say why they're searching the landfill in November, months after Voight's disappearance in July. 

"It's just the flow of the investigation. The investigation has been ongoing and it finally came to the point that we could do this," the police official said. 

Littleton Police have found help in their search from Colorado State Patrol, the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Department, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, Colorado National Guard and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. 

History of the case

Voight had been reported missing after she hadn't been heard from by family in several days. The call rang out on July 8, with family saying they hadn't heard from her since June 29. 

Prior to her disappearance, she had moved to Colorado to be with her boyfriend, who has been identified as Jeffrey Scot Beier. Beier faced arrest on July 12 in a sexual assault case that police say is unrelated to Voight's disappearance. 

Sources told Denver7 Investigates the person Beier allegedly assaulted is the last known person to have seen Voight alive. 

Voight's boyfriend not currently a person of interest

Police have said Beier, who was originally held on $100,000 bond, but later released when charges against him were dropped, is not a person of interest in the case currently. He may have a history in court with Voight, however. Sources told Denver7 that Beier has since left the state. 

A 2015 case narrative by the Douglas County Sheriff's Office shows investigators responding to a call of a couple fighting at a Parker bar found Beier had a 2012 protection order out of California protecting him from contact with Voight. 

In the document, he told police he took classes as part of a plea agreement, saying the pair had reunited. 

Court records show Beier served time in 2009 in California after pleading guilty to domestic violence against his ex-wife. 

A separate assault case in 2009 led one woman to tell police Beier threatened her.

"He threatened that if I were to go to the police, he would kill me and my family," the victim said. 

Police haven't said anything further about Beier's involvement in the case.  

Evidence found thus far in the case

Police say they found Voight's car not long after beginning the search for her body. The car, abandoned in a dirt lot, is linked to a property sold to Beier days before Voight's disappearance. 

The former property owner said Beier moved dumpsters onto the property soon after buying it for $50,000 in cash. 

Sources close to the case also say they located blood spatter on a headboard during their investigation. That headboard is being closely examined and tested. 

Those sources also said a mattress was missing from a searched apartment, along with a piece of carpeting that appears to have been replaced. 

Challenges of landfill search

"It's quite an undertaking," said former Denver Police Officer Jonathyn Priest who has conducted several landfill searches. "You're talking about some major equipment; you're talking about major time commitment, and you're talking about lots of money."

Priest is a 31-year veteran of DPD and has investigated thousands of criminal incidents of violence as a detective, supervisor and command officer.

He said almost all landfill searches are meticulous, long and tedious.

"Usually when you're about to begin a landfill search, you want to have a good understanding of where we need to be looking," said Priest.

Sources tell Denver7 Investigates police were able to place Voight's boyfriend at the landfill on the day she is believed to have disappeared, which gave them a date and an area to start searching.

"Landfills have a very good record keeping as far as where things are put in a landfill," said Priest.

Once you start digging, he said, they'll look for items that confirm they're looking in the right place.

"Dates on newspaper, letters that have addresses consisted with the location where a victim may have last been seen," Priest further explained.  

Police said they're looking for her remains and any other evidence, including a mattress Denver7 first reported missing from her apartment earlier this year.

Regardless, Priest said finding a body in a landfill is far from easy.

"Even though you think a body will be easy to see, it won't, they can be quite disguised," he said. 




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