Alan Lee Phillips was taken into custody for the deaths of 22-year-old Annette Schnee and 30-year-old Barbara Jo Oberholtzer, FOX31 Denver reported, citing law enforcement sources. He faces charges of first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon and kidnapping.
No further details on how investigators identified Phillips as a suspect were immediately released.
Schnee and Oberholtzer were both last seen on Jan. 6, 1982, hitchhiking separately from Breckenridge, a town at the base of the Rocky Mountains’ Tenmile Range, where they both worked. Investigators do not believe the two women knew each other, according to KMGH-TV.
Oberholtzer’s body was found a day later about 10 miles from Breckenridge on the summit of Hoosier Pass, which stands at more than 11,000 feet elevation. She died of a single gunshot wound to the chest.
Schnee’s body was found six months later on July 3, 1982, in rural Park County, Colo., about 20 miles south of Breckenridge. She was fully clothed and lying face down in a stream. She died of a single gunshot wound to the back.
Private investigator Charlie McCormick, who began working on the case in 1989, told KMGH-TV last year that he’d work the case "to the bitter end."
"You can't walk away from it, or I can't," he told the station. "Haven't wanted to. Tomorrow's another day, and you got stuff to do, and you see what might happen."
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation said an update to the development would be given later Wednesday.