An orange sock is found at the crime scene of two different murders.

Left: Bobbie Jo Oberholzer with long blond hair, Right: Annette Kay Scnee with long brown hair

Bobbie Jo Oberholzer & Annette Kay Schnee

A woman with her hand stretched out at a passing van

Police believed both women were hitchhiking


On January 7, 1982, a woman’s body was found five miles south of Breckenridge, Colorado. She had been shot twice. The only two clues at the scene were a set of house keys and one orange sock. The keys belonged to the dead woman, but the orange sock did not.

An orange sock in the middle of a snowy field

A single orange sock was recovered

Six months later and 13 miles away, another woman’s body was found. She had also been shot to death. Police were stunned when they discover that she was wearing the match for the orange sock.

The murdered women were both locals: 29-year old Bobbie Oberholtzer and 21-year old Annette Kay Schnee. They both disappeared on the same day and both had been shot with a medium caliber revolver. The crime scenes were miles from one another and the bodies were found six months apart. And yet police believed that both women were murdered on the same night and by the same man. The prime suspect became Bobbie’s husband, Jeff Oberholtzer:

“I can only say that I didn’t do anything. As a matter of fact, we had just planned, several days before, that it was time for us to have children. I miss my wife. I did not kill her.”

Bobbie and Jeff were married on July 1, 1977, four-and-a-half years before Bobbie was murdered. Jeff ran an appliance repair business, and Bobbie worked as a receptionist. According to Jeff, the day of Bobbie’s death began as usual, she left home at 7:15 A.M. and hitchhiked to work:

“Everybody hitchhiked. You got to know the people in the town, and they got to know you, and they’d look for you to take you over and back if you needed a ride.”

At 6:20 that evening, Bobbie called to tell Jeff she was having drinks with friends after work:

“She said she was at the village pub. She was with friends and she’d be home soon. So I proceeded to put the supper on, and waited for her to come home. I woke up about midnight, and Bobbie wasn’t home yet. I thought maybe she’s kicking up her heels just a little bit and has forgotten about the time. Only she never came home. And I knew that something was not right.”

A man pulling down the boot of Annette to reveal an orange sock

The missing sock belonged to Annette

Jeff drove into Breckenridge to look for Bobbie. Her friends told him she had left the bar around 7:30 pm. When Jeff reported to police that Bobbie was missing, they told him it was too early to file a report. Finally, he drove back home to wait for Bobbie.

The next morning, a farmer who lived 30 miles outside Breckenridge found Bobbie’s driver’s license on his property. When Jeff and two friends went to pick it up, they made a disturbing discovery:

“I spotted a blue spot in the snow. Her backpack was blue, so we stopped.”

With the backpack was one of Bobbie’s gloves, spattered with blood, and several bloody tissues. Jeff’s friends helped him organize a search. Two hours later, they found Bobbie’s lifeless body more than fifteen miles from where her backpack was discovered. At the scene, police found three intriguing clues. The only footprints near the body were Bobbie’s. A plastic cord was tied around one of her wrists. And the single orange sock was found nearby.

A blue back pack in a field with some blood stained snow

Bobbie Jo’s blue backpack was found

The same day Bobbie’s body was found, another woman, Annette Schnee, was reported missing. Annette was a cocktail waitress in Frisco, Colorado, and like Bobbie, often hitchhiked to work. From the start, police believed that the two cases were connected. Former Colorado Bureau of Investigations Agent Jim Hardtke investigated the case:

“When I first asked Jeff if he knew Annette Schnee, he denied it. It was several days later, after seeing her picture in the newspaper, that he came to me and said that he did know Annette and he gave her a business card.”

Jeff claimed he had once picked up Annette when she was hitchhiking and he had given her his business card, but had never seen or heard from her since that day.

On July 3, 1982, six months after she disappeared, Annette’s body was found. Police were stunned when they discovered she was wearing the other orange sock. Jeff’s business card was found inside her wallet. Park County Sheriff Robert Harrison believed the connection was obvious:

“The fact that two victims would both be associated or known by one individual, well, it makes the investigation tend to focus on Jeff Oberholtzer as the primary suspect.”

Authorities pieced together a scenario for the two murders. Annette Schnee was last seen in Breckenridge at 4:00 P.M., involved in a serious conversation with a dark-haired woman. Police believe that around 5:00 pm, Annette left to hitchhike home. The killer picked her up and drove 20 miles south of Breckenridge. He took Annette down a short dead-end road and sexually assaulted her. Richard Eaton is the Summit County Sheriff:

“While she was getting dressed, she apparently found one long sock, put it on, and couldn’t find the second long sock. She then put an orange bootie on her other foot, and her boots on. She apparently escaped, and while running away, was shot in the back.”

Police believed the killer then drove back to Breckenridge and found his second victim: Bobbie Oberholtzer. The killer drove Bobbie ten miles south of Breckenridge, to a scenic overlook, where he apparently attempted to rape her. When Bobbie escaped from the vehicle, the bootie fell out. The killer then chased her down the road and shot her twice as she turned away. According to Jeff Oberholtzer, he believed his wife knew her killer:

“My wife wouldn’t have gotten into a vehicle with just a couple strange guys. She knew that she could call for a ride if she wanted to. I think she knew someone and that they left together with a promise to her of taking her home.”

Two months after his wife was murdered, Jeff Oberholtzer took a polygraph exam and passed. From day one, Jeff insisted that he had a rock-solid alibi. He said that at the time the murders were committed, he was at home visiting with a friend. But Jeff was unable to produce the witness for police. Then, finally, in December of 1990, Jeff’s friend surfaced. Sheriff Eaton interviewed the man:

“He stated that he had been at Jeff’s house that night. However, the times that he gave us did not match up with the times that Jeff had given us.”

Jeff Oberholtzer has always maintained his innocence:

“As far as the finger being pointed at me, I’m still very, very angry about that. If different agencies had pursued different avenues and not concentrated so much on trying to find me guilty, we may have found out who did this to these girls.”

The Summit County Sheriff’s Department has cleared Jeff Oberholtzer as a suspect in the murder of his wife, Bobbie Jo, and Annette Kay Schnee. The investigation remains open.

UPDATE: In March 2021, Clear Creek County authorities tailed a 70-year-old Alan Lee Phillips as he was driving near his home in Dumont and pulled him over. Using a DNA sample from the crime scene to create a family tree, authorities were able to connect Phillips to the two murders. Phillips was arrested, and tips are still encouraged to support the investigation.

Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season six with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.




  1. Stacy

    The case was solved.He’s DEAD. A 72-year-old man who was sentenced four months ago for killing two women who disappeared near Breckenridge in the 1980s has died in prison. DNA testing by Colorado authorities identified Alan Lee Phillips as a suspect in the murders. He was 71 at the time of his conviction last fall.


  2. Mariya

    I have a feeling it was Jeff who murdered the women. His facial expressions on the photos, and how carefully he was choosing the “appropriate” “crying grimmases”, and was ‘crying” with mimic only, but without tears, as well as his blank eyes- that tells that he is faking the grief and is hiding something. And his business card, given to another woman… And all his “premolitions”… The criminals like to give police the clues, they enjoy this game. He could have found Philips, gotten him drunk and cut him to collect his blood to pour over the glove and the tissue. Allan looks innocent. He was set up. He is definitely not well mentally, but he did not kill those women. Once the police found he had assaulted another woman, they immediately decides it was him. And that is why Jeff set him up, given he was not on the right mind and easy to manipulate. He might have killed his wife out of jealousy – not over the cokd pizza, of course , – and killed another woman to disguise this kill as an act of a maniac. And that is why he planted those two socks with each body. It is so obviouse to me that the socks were the trick to make those two murders connected in order to make it look like an act of a serial killer, to confuse the investigators. I think he enjoyed being suspected and that cleared: he knew he would be cleared because of the planted blood, and that is why he additionally enjoyed making those “premolitions” about the discovery of another body. He could have easily relocated the body that he had hidden well before, at the “predicted” time to the “predicted” place. It was a fun game for him. Poor Alan has problems with memory, and overalk condusion, so he could not defend himself propery, nor did his advocate do the best job. He was on the eight track, but not convinsing. The “cold pizza” reason was a laugh. He did not consider the possibility of the planted evidence. The female detective with the short hair seems very determinate, but not very bright as she fell for Jeff’s tricks. Everyone who believed Jeff’s ceocosile tears, is naive. The police was on the right track in the beginning, but Jeff outsmarted them. This case must be reviewed.


  3. H H

    In 1983 a woman’s body was found in Williamson County, Texas wearing only a single orange sock. It’s called the Orange Sock Murder! Local law enforcement tried to pin it on Henry Lee Lucas.


  4. Dee

    So many sure of the husband’s guilt in this thread. “So…I was wrong.” Yeah, and opinions like this ruined the name of another victim of this crime…the widow. Those whondidn’t merely express an opinion but stated it “is obvious”…how many more things in your life have you also been stubbornly convinced of that were wrong? Maybe things that impacted loved ones? People so quick to judge can’t help but do it repeatedly. Yet they never admit fault…”I was right to think it. Everyone did. It wasn’t my fault…” No, it is.


    • Cory Dods

      I 100% agree with you. People need to quit trying to be amateur detectives. Let the experts handle things.. they cleared Jeff quickly.. what makes these amateur detectives w/too much time in their hands think they can do better than the actual professionals? So many “something doesn’t add up” statements regarding Jeff on here and crap.. so many here were so sure the husband did it, coming your with their own make believe theories like him having an affair with Annette etc… this crap is such a pet peeve of mine.

      And then, what do you know? They catch the killer and it wasn’t Jeff! You’d think being so dead wrong about a case would keep these people from speculating in the future, but I’m sure these same ones that were so sure it was Jeff have moved into other unsolved murders/missing people, sharing their so-called “expertise” & made up theories on those cases, too. SMH


  5. Bill Blaski

    Looks like DNA closed this case! Why does some philanthropist not create a fund to do nothing but help local countries/municipalities run dna kits? With familial DNA these crimes can be solved. Unfortunately many tests have gone lost or degraded due to storage problems.


  6. Cedric

    Let this be another example of a husband or boyfriend who was falsely accused for no reason other than being in a relationship with the deceased. He had to deal with pathetic people accusing him for more than half of his life. Now the police have found the real killer, and it wasn’t Jeff. Turns out he is actually a left wing radical. I’m shocked.


  7. Savannah

    The socks definitely connect the two women. So scary these days!


  8. Deb

    Has the police ever used the DNA from Annette’s rape to see if there is a match?


  9. Graham

    With the evidence that was found, it seems like there would be a lead by now.


  10. Cleared DNA

    Jeff did not commit either murder, as the technology came to crime solving a test of his DNA did not match DNA from the evidence file and he was cleared by police as a suspect. The evidence didn’t add up to be focused solely on Jeff and it’s sad that he lost the wife he loved so much and that the shadow was over him for so long, while the killer got away. Although I know little of Annette, I’m sure her loved ones miss her and put together it’s a very tragic mystery.
    I could not find a date on this article, but evidently it’s very old.


  11. Placer Valley girl

    Lived in Alma for 12 years, got to know Jeff personally. He is a gentle and caring soul. Naturally the husband is the first suspect, but he passed a polygraph and was cleared. Those of us who knew him never had any doubts about his innocence. His business suffered and he suffered because of the continued scrutiny. Alma is a small town and we locals all hung out at the South Park Saloon, sharing beer and conversation. His heart was broken by the loss of the woman he loved, in such a horrific way, and I still don’t think he’s ever gotten over it. All you arm chair detectives need to back off. This man has suffered enough.



    Why did Jeffs friend take so long to alibi him?
    There’s so many links back to Jeff here & then they were murdered on the same day!
    The cable ties are puzzling & smack of a serial killer tool. But they weren’t connected & could have been placed on as a red herring.
    Too many links to Jeff in my opinion. So he was either being set up or he’s involved or that’s a huge coincidence.


    • Celia Benavidez

      Remember Jon Benet Ramsay- her parents had people speaking just like you are here. Insisting that all the clues indicated the mom. father and son. Years thise folks had to deal with the loss of their daughter as well as being accused of murder. Until they were cleared. My mom was murdered, so I know better than most – JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS based on circumstantial, flimsy evidence at best is a road to Hades. IF circumstantial evidence is clear enough maybe…that is a BIG maybe. But to take someone’s life from them because you think you know what you know is not good enough. Signed my mother’s killet served time and died for his sins.


    • Stefan cole

      I want to watch this episode with Robert stack hosting it. He’s the original host and he does such a good job and it’s not available and it really pisses me off.


  13. MH

    Presumably Jeff or his friend didn’t own or have access to the presumed gun in question? (No doubt th P.D. checked that out.) This may be obvious to most, but it might be good to have it this on the public record.
    Such pretty girls too! (But then Colorado’s always been full of them.) What a waste!


  14. Hector

    Jeff is responsible for Bobbie death. His statement of “we may have found out who did this to these girls”. it is so obvious, why would he include his wife as part of these girls?


  15. Anon

    Why are there so many episodes missing from the Film rise streaming service (including this one)


  16. Janna

    I’m trying to remember from which season this mystery was on. Can someone clarify?


  17. KC

    I’m glad we don’t convict people based on one quote. Or do we?


  18. thinkingoutloud

    i think the husband was having an affair with Annette and the wife found out and he murdered them both to keep quiet. strange both this women were murdered similar ways and on the same night/abducted same day. or maybe he had his friend do it.


  19. Anonymous

    Wow, you guys have vivid imaginations. Unlikely that Jeff did it.


  20. Anonymous

    Bobbie was my cousin, I know they focus’ed on Jeff in the beginning but I watched him at the funeral and completely believe he had nothing to do with it and was completely heartbroken losing Bobbie…


  21. Anonymous

    Yes, and it’s still unsolved. Are there any other suspects?


  22. Anonymous

    Thank you, Charlie.


  23. April

    It’s likely the women were taken at the same time and that’s why both had a sock each from a pair. The one who ran was likely killed first and the other woman was likely taken to the next location for privacy in case anyone had heard the shots. He isn’t going to stay if he has a living victim. He would be anxious maybe but the living victim would be extremely upset so he probably just drove a few miles.


  24. Anonymous

    The girls were taken at the same time.


  25. Is it possible??

    Is it possible that Jeff and his friend had done it? I mean his friend took a while to come up and say he was Jeff’s alibi so I mean what if Jeff forced his friend to help him and when it became an investigation the friend realized what they had done and refused to be the alibi but Jeff threatened him somehow. Then he went for another victim and left his track an orange sock.


  26. Anonymous

    Blue older type Van with no side windows Colorado tags .Two guys dark hair one was shaved the other had some facial looked liked mountain men..Parked on the wrong side of the road about 3 am in the morning.I saw something in 1982 that haunts me..


  27. Anonymous

    the orange sock detail is ringing a bell……i’ll have to think about it. something i read in texas, maybe?


  28. Anonymous

    I think that Jeff and his friend had planned this.jeff picked up Annette and knew that she was going hitch hiking.then bobbie told Jeff she was going to be out with some friends.maybe one of the friends she was with was the man that Jeff claimed he was with that is why the times are different then the friend killed boogie and drove off.


  29. mary

    That is scary


  30. Rebecca

    Jeff said “My wife wouldn’t have gotten into a vehicle with just a couple strange guys” Who mentioned anything about strange guys? he did, Why did he lie to the police saying he did not know Annette when he did, he gave her his business card. Jeff said “As far as the finger being pointed at me, I’m still very, very angry about that.The finger is pointing at him because he is making himself look guilty and suspicious


    • Jonathan

      Strange guys – this could easily be explained in three ways. Firstly ‘guys’ could be used here in a gender neutral use. Secondly he could simply have used that word as that’s what’s expected to happen, guys kill, guys rape, therefore it must be guys. Thirdly (and probably least likely) we don’t know if the quote is actually correctly attributed.

      Knowing Annette – same deal with common usage of words. I met this guy a few weeks ago, have him a lift, even spent a few with him. I say I ‘know’ him, I’d say I’ve ‘met’ him. I’d probably remember him even less if I’d just given him a quick 10min trip down the road.


  31. Jake

    Something about Jeff’s comment in quotes that struck me odd. He cited “My wife wouldn’t have gotten into a vehicle with just a couple strange guys.” How would he know if it’s one, two, or more people involved? Furthermore, how would Jeff know the gender, that it was guys versus women? If he’s not involved, then Jeff’s best reply would have been “My wife wouldn’t have gotten into a vehicle with just anyone.” Something doesn’t smell right here.


  32. Tammy

    What was different about that night? Well for one thing, Jeff’s visitor. Was he a suspect?


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