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81-Year-Old Man Tells Cops He Brutally Murdered Family With Ax To Save Them From Homelessness

Englewood, CO – An 81-year-old man is behind bars after police located the mutilated bodies of his wife and daughter inside garbage cans in his living room.

The victims had been hacked to death with an ax, the Englewood Police Department (EPD) said in a press release last week.

The investigation into the horrific killings began at approximately 6:03 p.m. on March 25, when 81-year-old Reginald Maclaren called the EPD to report that his wife and daughter had been murdered.

“He stated that he believed he knew the suspect and that the suspect had used a hammer,” police said.

Officers responded to 901 Englewood Parkway and met with Reginald Maclaren at his apartment.

When they entered the residence, they discovered “two victims inside large trashcans that were on the floor of the living room/kitchen area,” the EPD said.

Investigators noted that both victims had suffered “substantial injuries and showed no signs of life.”

EPD detectives joined up with the Arapahoe County Coroner’s Office and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation Crime Scene Unit to conduct the investigation into the homicide.

They determined the killer used an ax to murder the two victims, then used a saw to dismember one of them, according to the EPD.

Investigators said they established probable cause to arrest Reginald Maclaren for the grisly murders.

EPD Division Chief Tracy Jones said during a press conference on Tuesday that Reginald Maclaren was “distraught” during the investigation and that he admitted to being the killer, The Denver Post reported.

“He did confess,” Chief Jones said.

The victims have been identified as 35-year-old Ruth Jennifer Maclaren and 70-year-old Bethany Maclaren, The Denver Post reported.

Reginald Maclaren allegedly told investigators he planned out the double homicide and purchased a saw, an ax, and the trashcans with the full intent of using them to kill his family, according to KBTV.

The two women were sitting on the couch watching television on March 25 when, according to Reginald Maclaren, he bashed them in their heads with the ax, knocking them unconscious, according to court documents.

The suspect allegedly told police he proceeded to hit them both two more times before he placed their bodies into the trash cans, KBTV reported.

He further noted the bins ended up being too heavy for him to move out of the home, police said.

“Some of our detectives have been detectives for 20 years, and they described this as one of the most gruesome crime scenes that they’ve ever been a part of,” Chief Jones said, according to WVUE.

According to an arrest affidavit, Reginald Maclaren told investigators he had been working at a job that involved assisting homeless people, but that he’d recently lost his employment, The Denver Post reported.

Police said the elderly suspect told them he knew he wouldn’t be able to pay the rent without a paycheck, so he murdered his wife and adult daughter so they would not wind up homeless, according to the affidavit.

Reginald Maclaren allegedly told investigators he understood “what a miserable life that was” and that he “does not regret” killing them because he “knows they are in a better place, WVUE reported.

He is being held without bond on first-degree murder charges.

Maclaren’s next court hearing is slated for April 3, according to KMGH.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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