SALIDA, Colo. — Police once again had to back out of the home of a deceased Turret man Tuesday after discovering 100 pounds of ammonium nitrate rigged with detonators.
Edwin Bartheld, 92, was found in a crawl space Friday, dead of an apparent .22-caliber gunshot wound to the throat. A .22 pistol was found near his body. However, deputies said the projectile lodged in the victim’s skull has not yet been fully confirmed to be a bullet.
Upon investigation of the home, Chaffee County Sheriff’s deputies found a large cache of explosive devices and chemicals commonly used for manufacturing explosives inside the house.
Investigators then backed out of the house and called for the Colorado Springs Regional Explosives Unit and two nearby HAZMAT teams. During the weekend, police believed they had secured the home and removed Bartheld’s body for autopsy.
Tuesday morning, deputies returned to the house to begin a grid search of the crawl space dirt surface, CCSO said. As they began, they noticed two 50-pound bags of ammonium nitrate partially covered by a tarp. The bags had been left in place by bomb squad officers, as the substance is considered stable.
However, as the tarp was removed, deputies discovered that both bags had been rigged with detonators that other officers had missed. The Colorado Springs Regional Explosives Unit responded, removed the bags, and safely disposed of the detonators.
Deputies are now working in the cramped crawl space, removing dirt using hand tools and plastic buckets, and examining the material with a sifter in an effort to trace the events leading to the man’s death.
Investigators have interviewed the property owners, a Florida couple, and others, and continue their investigation into the incident, CCSO said.