Investigation into 1984 killings in Lakewood, Aurora with hammer reaches ‘critical stage’

AURORA, Colo. -- Investigators have reached a "critical stage" in the cold case deaths of four people in Lakewood and Aurora in 1984.

The Aurora and Lakewood police departments will hold a joint news conference Friday to provide an update.

Police said a hammer was used to kill Patricia Louise Smith, 50, in Lakewood in January 1984, then another hammer was used to kill 27-year-old Bruce Bennett, 26-year-old Debra Bennett and their 7-year-old daughter Melissa a few days later in Aurora.

Investigators said the suspect also slashed the Bennetts with a knife.

The Bennetts' 3-year-old daughter was found alive but had been severely beaten.

In August 2017, investigators released a composite image of the suspect in the Bennett family homicides that was created using DNA phenotyping.

The news conference will be held at 10 a.m. Friday.