DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. – A frantic search led to a tragic ending Tuesday after police along the Front Range attempted to save the lives of two teens.
FOX31 and Channel 2 have been in touch with the victim’s family but they are not ready to talk publicly. Those who knew her suspected killer, Samuel Hoffman, are in total disbelief.
Around 3 p.m. Tuesday, police said Hoffman, 18, picked up the 17-year-old girl from Mile High Academy in Highlands Ranch. FOX31 knows the girl’s name, but we are honoring a request from police not to currently broadcast it.
Hoffman drove her to a nearby parking lot where officers believe he killed the girl.
“Just seeing the story … it just don’t make sense,” Hoffman’s friend Jaylen Bridges said. “I don’t see how this happened.”
Bridges, 20, knew Hoffman since the seventh grade.
“He was like a brother to me,” Hoffman said.
Bridges said Hoffman portrayed an image of intense love for his girlfriend on social media.
“They both seemed perfect for each other,” he said. “That’s the type of relationship it looked like.”
That seemingly perfect relationship online also unraveled on social media. Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said Hoffman posted concerning behavior before officers found his vehicle along Interstate 25 Tuesday evening in Fountain.
“They did contact a male suspect in that car,” Spurlock said. “That individual … took his own life inside the car.”
The girl’s body was found in the backseat.
Hoffman dropped out of Littleton High School in December 2018 to enroll in a GED program, Spurlock’s department said. He dropped out of that program last April.
“He was on his way to being like an MMA fighter,” Bridges said.
Spurlock said Hoffman was recently investigated for domestic violence involving a previous girlfriend and had been placed on a mental health hold.
Hoffman had a handgun, Spurlock said. It is illegal for an 18-year-old to buy a handgun. There is an ongoing investigation into where that weapon came from and how Hoffman got his hands on it.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.