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Sheridan Woman Pleads Guilty To Murder Conspiracy Charge In Colorado

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A Sheridan woman will be spending time behind bars after admitting she played a part in the death of a Montana woman while in Colorado last year.

Shantel Edlund was sentenced to 18 years in prison, followed by 5 years of parole, after she pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit second degree murder.

As part of a plea deal with prosecutors, 4 other charges were dropped and she must testify against her 2 co-defendants, Leo Vanbuskirk and Casey Childers, who are also from Sheridan.

According to court documents filed in Castle Rock, Colorado, in November 2021, Edlund, Childers and the victim, Rachel Holeman of Shepherd, Montana, traveled to the Denver area for what turned out to be a drug run.

At some point Holeman went 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.

A meeting was established within the Children’s Hospital Parking garage in Aurora, and that was when Vanbuskirk got involved in the situation, because he was with his girlfriend and her sick child who was being treated within the hospital.

At the meeting, Holeman was taken out of one vehicle and placed in Edlund’s vehicle with Childers and Vanbuskirk also inside.

When initially 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 who ended up driving Edlund and Childers back to Sheridan, told investigators that during the trip, Childers had a fit of rage saying that he killed her.

Holeman’s body was found on the morning of New Years’ Eve.

A shell casing was found near the body, and an empty handgun box and magazine were found not far away.

A coroner determined her death was homicide by gunshot.

Childers and Vanbuskirk are being held without bond and are awaiting trial for the charges filed against them, connected to this case.

Each of them have been charged with 1st degree murder, conspiracy to commit 1st degree murder, 2nd degree kidnapping and conspiracy to commit 2nd degree kidnapping.

Childers is also facing 2 additional charges of possession of a weapon by a previous offender.

Photo Courtesy: Aurora, CO Police Department
Photo Courtesy: Aurora, CO Police Department

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