Three Sheridan residents are accused of kidnapping a Montana woman and killing her in Colorado.
39-year old Casey Childers, 44-year old Shantel Edlund and 24-year old Leo Van Buskirk have each been charged with first degree murder, conspiracy to commit first degree murder, second degree kidnapping, and conspiracy to commit second degree kidnapping.
According to court documents filed in Castle Rock, Colorado, in November 2021, the victim, 29-year old Rachel Holeman of Shepherd, Montana, along with Childers and Edlund, traveled to the Denver area for what was initially said to attend a party, but investigators later learned that was said to cover up for a drug run.
At some point Holeman was missing.
Police in Aurora, Colorado launched an investigation when they learned Holeman’s phone went off line within their jurisdiction, and that Childers and Edlund had deactivated the cell phone numbers that they had.
After searching Edlund’s Facebook messages, it was discovered that sometime during the drug run, Holeman was to be brought to Edlund and Childers because there were “lessons to be taught.”
A meeting was established within the Children’s Hospital Parking garage in Aurora, and that was when Van Buskirk got involved in the situation, because he was with his girlfriend and her sick child who was being treated within the hospital.
How and why he got involved is unclear.
At the meeting, Holeman was taken out of one vehicle and placed in Edlund’s.
Childers and Van Buskirk were also inside.
When interviewed by investigators, Edlund said the plan was to go to the middle of nowhere, leave Holeman and make her walk back, because Holeman was under suspicion that she had tried to go around Childers to get direct contact with a supplier.
The middle of nowhere ended up being a short distance south of Franktown, which is southeast of Denver.
Another person told investigators that he was in a hotel room and saw Holeman’s belongings, and that Childers wanted to leave quickly and later put the belongings in a dumpster.
The person then drove Childers and Edlund back to Sheridan, and during the trip, Childers had a fit of rage saying that he killed her.
In late December, investigators later learned that Childers, Edlund and Van Buskirk were arrested in Sheridan on unrelated drug charges, and investigators drove to Sheridan to interview them about Holeman.
Van Buskirk refused to speak without an attorney, and Childers claimed he didn’t know what investigators were talking about.
Edlund provided some information, but then broke down and requested a lawyer.
Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputies informed investigators that they had seen Edlund’s vehicle one night in November south of Franktown, and that it was the only vehicle on a road that was in a very remote area late at night.
Once the general area of where the vehicle was spotted was determined, a search was conducted and Holeman’s body was found not far off the road, on the morning of New Years’ Eve.
A coroner determined her death was homicide by gunshot.
A shell casing was found near the body, and an empty handgun box and magazine were found not far away.
Childers, Edlund and Van Buskirk are all being held without bond and are awaiting trial.
A judge has found probable cause in Edlund’s case and she is waiting for her arraignment, where she will enter a plea to the charges.
Childers and Van Buskirk have a preliminary hearing scheduled later this month, to determine if there is probable cause in their cases.
The maximum punishment for first degree murder in Colorado is life in prison without parole.