EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — The El Paso County Coroner’s Office said two bodies were found inside a vehicle near Fountain.
One of the bodies was identified as a missing 17-year-old girl from Douglas County. The other body was identified as Samuel Hoffman, 18, of Centennial.
The bodies were both located inside a vehicle owned by Hoffman by the Colorado State Patrol and Fountain Police Department around 7:45 p.m. Tuesday.
Police said they heard a single gunshot from the vehicle as they approached it. They believe Hoffman died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound before police could make contact with him.
“Our hearts go out to the families of both of these young people whose lives were lost,” Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said. “We know this is a difficult time for friends and family. We want you to know that we mourn with you. We will work diligently to find answers for everyone involved.”
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, CSP and the Fountain Police Department are working together to investigate the case as a murder-suicide.
Authorities have not yet released the girl’s name.
At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Spurlock said that about 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, Hoffman picked up the victim from her school, Mile High Academy in Highlands Ranch.
Authorities believe that between 3:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., Hoffman killed the victim in a parking lot near the school but not on its property.
Spurlock said that after Hoffman shared concerning information on social media, seven agencies in the Denver and Colorado Springs metro areas began searching for Hoffman’s vehicle.
Spurlock said the victim and Hoffman were friends for several years. At some point, “their relationship grew stronger,” Spurlock said.
Hoffman attended Littleton High School until December 2018, when he left to attend a GED program through Littleton Public Schools.
Hoffman was allegedly involved in a domestic violence situation in Aurora, Spurlock said.
Mile High Academy issued the following statement, in part, about the student who was killed:
“Our hearts go out to the family. We want this family to know that they are in our thoughts and our prayers.”
The school said it is working closely with the sheriff’s office as the investigation continues. Additionally, counselors will be available for grieving students and staff.
Editor’s Note: Based on information received from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, an earlier version of this story inaccurately stated Hoffman attended Littleton High School until November 2019. That information has been updated.