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Four years after a mountain biker’s murder, family pleads for help solving case

Tim Watkins was shot and killed while mountain biking on Sept. 14, 2017.
Tim Watkins was shot and killed while mountain biking on Sept. 14, 2017.(Watkins family)
Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 8:41 AM MDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2021 at 10:11 AM MDT
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MONUMENT, Colo. (KKTV) - Four years have passed since Tim Watkins pedaled away from his house and never returned.

“There is a huge hole in all of our hearts,” said sister Bonnie Gray. “We miss him terribly.”

Watkins was an avid mountain biker, well-known in the local biking community, and the morning of Sept. 14, 2017, started like any other, with a ride in the trails near his Palmer Lake home.

“I think of Tim as a legend in the mountain bike community,” friend Jeff Tessier told 11 News back then. “He had a passion for riding and loved it so dearly.”

But Watkins didn’t come home that day. Later, searchers would find a single mountain biking shoe resting upright on Mount Herman Road and his bike discarded feet away from the trail.

Finally on Sept. 17, a dog located Watkins’ body wedged in a shallow grave near the road, covered with pine needles. He had been shot several times.

“We’re just hoping that someone would come forward or say something. There’s gotta be somebody out there that knows something,” Gray said.

To date, investigators still don’t know who killed Watkins and why. The lone person of interest -- who would go on to plead guilty to threatening hikers and mountain bikers with a hatchet on Mount Herman Road -- was ultimately never charged in the Watkins case and has since served out his jail sentence.

For his family, the pain is with them every day. Gray says their parents have since passed away, never knowing what happened to their son.

“My mom and dad and I and one of our sons got to go see Tim the day before he was killed, and I have this one image in my mind. He was waving at me and he said, ‘Bye, Bonnie, thanks,’ and it ... nobody could smile like him. Nobody had a bigger heart than him. He was a good guy and a good big brother. And he was a good father.”

The family is pleading for anyone with any piece of information, no matter how big or small, to come forward. Gray says the possibility that the case becomes cold has crossed their minds.

“It makes me sad. It makes a lot of us in our family sad because that could be a possibility.”

Every year since Watkins’ murder, relatives have made the same plea for help.

“It would bring our family a lot of closure to at least know who and why ... or at least who,” son Issac Watkins told 11 News last year.

They pray the case won’t make it to a fifth year without answers.

“We just hope somebody will see this and come forward with information to solve his murder, so thank you,” Gray said.

If you think you might be able to help this family, you’re urged to call the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 719-520-6666.

“If it was in somebody else’s family, I would want the same thing. There’s got to be justice. When they you can’t walk around free. When you’ve done a horrible crime to another person,” Gray told 11 News.

“We will not stop. We will not stop until justice is brought for our Timmy.”

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