The investigation into the double-murder in the Des Moines suburb of Johnston has led to Colorado. Johnston police put out a nationwide search Wednesday afternoon for 16 year-old Tyler Pirtle who lived in the home, saying they wanted to question him in the deaths of the house sitter and a counselor. He was believed to be driving a red 1995 Mercury Mystique. Later in the afternoon, Johnston Police Chief Bruce Gaddis held a news conference with the announcement that the Colorado Highway Patrol had found a car that may be linked to the case. He says the car was occupied by a deceased subject, but they don’t have a positive identification of the individual. Gaddis says they’ll continue working with Colorado authorities to identify the individual inside. He says they have a crime scene and now Colorado has a crime scene and he says they’ll work together on the investigation. Gaddis was asked if the discovery of the car and the dead man puts less urgency into the investigation.He says that’s the case if whoever did the shooting acted alone, but he says they don’t know for sure if that’s the case. Newsman Randy Hampton in Grand Junction describes the area where the case came to an end. He says they’re in “high desert” in western Colorado, along Interstate-70 which basically bisects the state about 16 miles from the Utah border. Authorities say around noon Thursday a Mesa County sheriff’s deputy followed a speeding car that pulled off an I-70 exit ramp. Wendy Likes is public-information officer with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department. By the time the trooper had caught up with the vehicle, it had pulled about fifty feet off the road and was sitting there — so without knowing whether the occupant had left the vehicle before he got there, the officer reported it and waited for more officers to arrive. Sheriff’s spokeswoman Wendy Likes says deputies were joined by officers from two local towns and the state patrol.She says when officers approached the car it looked like the male inside had suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and everything they’ve seen leads investigators to lead it’s the suspect from Iowa. Reporter Randy Hampton says local officials were willing to announce their conclusions. The Mesa County, Colorado, sheriff’s department, announced that the person inside the car died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Chief Gaddis in Johnston says it may take a day to identify the person in the car. The victims were found in the Johnston house of Pirtle’s father, who is on his way back from vacation. Gaddis identified the victims as 21-year-old Sara Dahlke of Marshalltown, who was babysitting the house, and 41-year-old Greg Gaul of Des Moines, a family counselor. Gaddis says he does not know the nature of Gaul’s work with the Pirtle family.
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