For nearly 40 years Eileen Franklin, 88, has been tortured because she did not know who shot her 21-year-old daughter and left her dead in the Colorado snow.
Annette Kay Schnee was shot in the back on January 6, 1982.
“When it comes to holidays and family reunions, you think about it. You wake up in the morning and think about it. There is not a day that I do not think about, ”said Franklin, from Port Richey, Florida, on Tuesday.
Annette Schnee, who disappeared in 1982.
Annette Schnee, who disappeared in 1982. KUSA
In February, he received news that he thought he had never heard of it: Police arrested Alan Lee Phillips, 70, when he was killed.
He is also charged with the murder of Barbara Jo Oberholtzer, who was last seen alive on January 6, 1982. In addition to murder charges, Phillips, a retired mechanic and father of three, faces charges of kidnapping and assault.
Park County Sheriff's Office said that although they were not together, Oberholtzer, 29, and Schnee "were last seen walking outside the town of Breckenridge."
Both women were shot, the sheriff's office said.
Oberholzer's body was found at the top of Hoosier Pass the day after his disappearance, but it took investigators six months to find Schnee's body "in a rural area" in Park County, officials said.
Barbara Oberholtzer, who went missing in 1982.
Barbara Oberholtzer, who went missing in 1982 at KUSA
Phillips' lawyers did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.
Authorities say the decades-old genocide was broken with the help of a genealogy that uses data to link DNA collected in the case with Phillips. Investigators were able to identify Phillips in the vicinity of the women's disappearance as he was rescued on Guanella Pass in the Colorado mountains the night before last night with Schnee and Oberholtzer.
His rescue, which took place after he displayed an SOS depression sign spotted by a Colorado chief on a commercial plane, made headlines nationally, Det said. Sgt. Wendy Kipple of the Park County Sheriff's Office.
Dave Montoya was chief firefighter in Clear Creek County when he was brought in by a picket stuck on Guanella Pass decades ago.
"We ended up taking the boy straight to hell," Montoya told NBC's KUSA ambassador in Denver this week.
Dave Montoya still fondly remembers this day. He was firefighter in Clear Creek County in 1982.
Dave Montoya still fondly remembers this day. He was firefighter in Clear Creek County in 1982. IN THE MORNING
Phillips' arrest marked “the biggest case in my career,” Kipple said. He thanked former investigators who tracked down and found evidence, noting that several agencies were prosecuting for decades. The case file contains 52, 4-inch binders, Kipple said.
"It has been a time and luck," he said on Tuesday. "I was working on this case when we had the technical resources and technological advances."
Kipple said the history, using the information that investigators could officially obtain, infected more than 12,000 people and included the DNA police collected in the case to Phillips.
Lori Vallow, Chad Daybell has been charged with murder in connection with the deaths of her two children
“The forensic genealogy has added great joy and new life to this case. We were very weak in every way and the investigation to that point, ”Kipple said. "Then began the task of verifying whether he was our suspect or not and had the potential and opportunity to commit a crime."
The motive for the killings was unknown, Kipple said, adding that he was relieved to be able to offer comfort to the Schnee and Oberholzer families.
Franklin said the imprisonment had comforted him and provided some closure.
"You think, 'I'm 88 years old. I probably won't get it before I go through this world,'" he said. "At least I know they have a suspect in prison."
Franklin said his daughter is "funny," "happy-lucky" and hopes to be a flight attendant.
She thanks investigators for never abandoning her daughter.
“I give them credit. They have tried very hard, ”said Franklin.
Cindy French, 50, of Trinity, Florida, was 11 years old when her sister was killed. She keeps thinking about her older sister's last days and how she was left in the cold.
It is sad that her daughters have lost contact with their aunt or cousins.
"That was taken away from us," French said. “We have never seen him grow up. I found a sister whom I had never met before, except when I was young. ”
French is expected to attend Phillips' trial. His message to him: “You have been 39 years of freedom, and hopefully, now, it will be taken from you. Thirty-nine years of freedom are too long. ”
Phillips is scheduled for the first hearing on September 13, according to the Colorado Court of Justice.
Oberholzer's family could not be reached for comment.