PUEBLO, Colo. – Chihuahuas usually aren't part of a crime scene investigation team, but officials were glad for the help.
It took six years to uncover the killing but only a couple of weeks to find the man who allegedly did it after the pet dog brought home a human jawbone.
The Pueblo Chieftain reported Sunday that Charles Gross, 47, was arrested Saturday after he allegedly told them him he had shot a man in self-defense in September 2001.
The man's bones were found on Jan. 4 underneath a mobile home after a pet dog had come home with what was identified as the jawbone of a human.
Portions of a human skeleton were found last weekend by a cadaver dog and more were discovered on Saturday underneath his mobile home. It wasn't the home where the man was shot. Gross had moved across town a couple months ago and took as many of the bones as he could inside a 55-gallon barrel, according to the arrest affidavit.
Authorities said a partial skeleton was found under the home where Gross had lived for more than a decade.
The victim's name has not been released.
Gross was being held on $100,000 bond Sunday on a charge of second-degree murder. Cynthia Gomez at the jail said Gross had not been advised yet of the charges against him and had no lawyer.
"Mr. Gross confessed to shooting a male who was supposedly attacking him in the mobile home," Deputy J.C. Williams said.
An arrest affidavit said Gross told investigators that after he was knocked to the floor he pulled a handgun and shot the man once.
Asked what he had done with the victim's body, he said, "I wrapped it in plastic and pushed it under the house and forgot about it."
The arrest affidavit said that investigators grew suspicious while interviewing Gross when he asked, "You found a whole body?"
"We recovered a cranium, a pelvis, lower torso bones and a lot of rib bones," said Pueblo County Coroner James Kramer. "When you put those with what we've already recovered, you have a whole person. One would logically think they're related, but we have an obligation to prove it."
"This is one of the most complex cases you could ever dream up," Taylor said. "You make your own luck. To put something together that takes you from a jawbone brought into a yard by a Chihuahua to a murder charge and an arrest, that's straight out of a TV drama."