Update: Authorities announced on April 26 the arrest of three suspects in connection with Alex Bartell's death.
A reward of up to $17,000 is being offered for information connected to the death of a 20-year-old Arvada woman who died last week after being struck by a rock. The homicide is being investigated as part of a series of crimes, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.
Alexa Bartell died late Wednesday night after she was struck by a rock that investigators say was thrown through her windshield by someone who did the same thing to multiple other vehicles over a one-hour span.
Bartell was talking on the phone with a friend while driving when she was hit by the rock, said Karlyn Tilley, a spokeswoman for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. After the call went silent, the friend tracked Bartell's location with a phone app and found the woman dead in her car, which had crashed into a field.
Tilley said Bartell was killed by the rock and not the crash.
Bartell worked for Commercial Flooring Services in Denver. The company said it lost its "youngest, brightest employee to this senseless act" in a Facebook post made Friday morning. The company stated her mother is also an employee there.
Investigators believe the attack is linked to several other similar incidents reported in the area northwest of Denver late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning. The attacks started just after 10 p.m. Wednesday and involved at least seven vehicles. In addition to Bartell's death, two drivers suffered minor injuries.
Tilley said the rocks were either thrown from a vehicle or the roadway. Each was between 4 and 6 inches (10 and 15 centimeters) in diameter and weighed 3 to 5 pounds (1.4 to 2.7 kilograms).
Authorities released the timeline of the crimes that took place on the night of Wednesday, April 19:
- 10:04 p.m. in Westminster - A rock was thrown through a windshield but the driver was not injured at 100th Ave. and Simms St.
- 10:26 p.m. in Arvada - A rock was thrown through a windshield resulting in minor injuries to the driver on Highway 93 at Highway 72.
- 10:26 to 10:45 p.m. in Jefferson County - The driver of a minivan was traveling south on Highway 93 at about 10:30 a.m. when it was struck on the driver's side by a rock that broke windows.
- 10:26 to 10:45 p.m. in Jefferson County - The driver of a Subaru Forester was traveling south on Highway 93 when the vehicle was struck by a clump of smaller rocks, cracking its windshield.
- 10:26 to 10:45 p.m. in Boulder County - A rock was thrown through a windshield resulting in minor injuries to the driver at McCaslin Blvd and S. Indiana St. (entrance to Rock Creek neighborhood).
- 10:26 to 10:45 p.m. in Boulder County – "Rock vs. Toyota 4-Runner" resulting in body damage to the vehicle but no injury to the driver at McCaslin Blvd and S. Indiana St. (entrance to Rock Creek neighborhood).
- 10:45 p.m. in Jefferson County – A rock was thrown through the windshield of a yellow Chevy Spark, resulting in the homicide of Bartell on the 10600 block of Indiana Street.
Authorities are looking for the suspect or suspects, who might be driving a light-colored pickup truck or SUV. Jefferson County sheriffs are working with the Boulder County Sheriff's Office as well as the Arvada and Westminster police departments.
Tips can be made to Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at (720) 913-STOP. To be eligible for the reward and to remain anonymous, tipsters must call the tip line.
This story was updated on April 25 with information on two more victims during the same time frame.
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