DENVER -- It was supposed to be romantic anniversary hike. But new paperwork reveals why federal investigators believe Harold Henthorn pushed his wife over a cliff while visiting Rocky Mountain National Park in 2012, and why the 58-year-old Highlands Ranch man is currently awaiting trial for first degree murder.
And that’s not all. Warrants released on Wednesday also revealed that an investigation into the death of Henthorn’s ex-wife in 1995, which was ruled accidental, has also been reopened.
Among the details released in a series of affidavits was the discovery of a map that was found in Henthorn’s Jeep. The markings on the map happened to include a pink "X" at the location where his most-recent wife, Toni Henthorn, fell over a ledge to her death.
When questioned, Henthorn "appeared at a loss for words" and "could not explain why there was an ‘X’ on the map," according to an affidavit.
It’s not the first time Henthorn’s response to questioning has given investigators pause.
Within hours of the accident, Henthorn was questioned by park rangers, telling them the fall had been an accident. But within weeks, the FBI and others begin receiving tips to the contrary. After serving several warrants, detectives determined Henthorn’s statements didn't add up.
One of the discrepancies was what Toni had been doing prior to falling off the ledge. Henthorn told investigators she had fallen in the process of taking a photo, but Toni's recovered camera and memory card showed no photos near the location where she fell.
Also in question is what Henthorn was doing at the time of Toni's fall.
Henthorn initially told investigators he was looking at a text sent by his daughter's babysitter shortly after 5 p.m. as his wife fell, with the text saying his daughter's team had just won a soccer game. However, after records were discovered indicating the babysitter had sent that text at 3 p.m., Henthorn changed his story twice, first saying he was checking for a text about whether his daughter had arrived at the babysitter's house and later saying he was checking Toni's call-answering service.
Statements from Toni’s friends also raised red flags with investigators.
One friend told investigators that Henthorn "created financial profiles of three woman he was dating (at the time) and, after asking some of his friends which one he should marry, decided on Toni," according to an affidavit.
In addition to being a successful ophthalmologist, Toni owned a percentage of her family’s oil business and had three life insurance policies totaling $4.5 million, at least one of which was taken out by Henthorn.
Henthorn, meanwhile, told Toni’s friends he owned a company named Development Service, Inc., and that the firm’s chief task was raising funds for nonprofits like hospitals and churches. However, investigators have found no evidence that the company exists, explaining that tax records show Henthorn has not reported any income or losses in recent years.
Toni’s mother, Yvonne Bertolet, also told investigators she was fearful that Henthorn would harm her daughter, citing an incident that occurred while the couple was working on their home in Grand Lake. Shortly after Henthorn called Toni outside, Toni was struck and seriously injured by a piece of lumber that Henthorn had dropped off the deck. An emergency medical technician who responded to the scene later told investigators he thought it was odd that Henthorn was working at night, according to an affidavit.
According to an affidavit, Bertolet also told investigators that Toni’s father, Robert Bertolet, had wanted to confront Henthorn on a number of issues, including why Henthorn would only allow Toni to speak with her parents via speakerphone when he was present. However, Yvonne said Toni told her parents that she would “pay the price” if such a confrontation were to occur.
Less than a week after Toni’s untimely demise, the Larimer County Coroner’s office and the National Parks Service received a series of anonymous letters urging them to look into the death of Henthorn’s ex-wife, Sandra Henthorn, due to the “many similarities” between the two incidents, according to an affidavit.
A report from the Douglas County Sheriff’s office concluded Sandra’s death had been accidental, with the 37-year-old having been crushed by a vehicle while helping Henthorn replace a tire near Sedalia.
"The car allegedly came off the jack as he was throwing the tire in the trunk, crushing his wife, who was under the car for unknown reasons," Douglas County records state. "There were no witnesses other than Harold Henthorn, and a life insurance policy on her had been taken out several months prior."
That insurance policy on Sandra's life was for $300,000.AlertMe