Man accused of threatening people with a hatchet might be linked to recent murders

DENVER -- A man under investigation for allegedly threatening people with a hatchet on a Monument, Colorado trail may be linked to other crimes, including the murder of a well-loved cyclist and the murders of two teens in Delphi, Indiana.

Police in Woodland Park said the suspect, 31-year-old Daniel Nations, was arrested while driving a vehicle with expired Indiana license plates Monday.

Police said Nations' car fit the description of the one reportedly involved in several cases of a man threatening hikers and bikers with a hatchet on Mount Herman two weeks ago.

Nations was taken into custody and charged with being a felon in position of a weapon.

According to police documents, a search of his car turned up a .22 caliber rifle and a hatchet.

Now the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office is investigating Nations in connection with the menacing and the murder of Timothy Watkins who was found shot to death on the same trail and on the same weekend the menacing calls were made. The gun found in Nations car is also the same caliber as the one that killed Watkins according to investigators.

“Our charges would be as it relates between the menacing complaints that we’ve had and the evidence that was found in his vehicle,” Jacque Kirby of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office said.

Following Nations' arrest, El Paso County received a tip that his  mugshot looks similar to the sketch of a man in Indiana wanted for the murder of two teenage girls. They were killed while hiking on a remote trail in Delphi.

Indiana State Police said they are looking into a possible connection and released the following statement:

"We are aware of the arrest of the person in Colorado and are investigating to see if he could be a suspect in the Delphi double murder investigation. Please keep in mind the Indiana State Police has received more than a thousand photos of persons alleged to be similar in appearance to the composite sketch of the Delphi person of interest. Each and everyone of these tips are investigated for any potential connection to our case. We will give the same attention to the person arrested in Colorado, but right now there is nothing that definitively connects this person to our investigation. If that should change--with this tip, or any other tip--rest assured we would be sharing such news with all media sources."

Nations is a registered sex offender. He also has convictions for domestic battery and drug possession in Indiana.

According to the Teller County Jail, where he's being held on the gun charges, Nations is a transient, believed to be living out of his car.

When he was arrested police said his wife and two kids were also in the car.

Investigators in El Paso County said they are still working both cases and expect Nations could be charged as early as Friday in the menacing case.  As for the murder of Watkins, investigators are still going through evidence and working the case.

“It's a unique set of circumstance and coincidences but we don’t have the luxury of speculating as law enforcement, we have to go where the evidence takes us and we have to have probable cause for any charge that we charge them with,” Kirby said.