After two men go drinking at a bar, one is later found drowned in a nearby river with wounds that indicate foul play.

David Chase

David and Judi Chase

CASE DETAILS

On October 15, 1995, private investigator Phil Harris heard a disembodied voice after he fell asleep in his easy chair.  The voice said: “I’m David Chase. I was murdered. I want you to investigate my murder. Go buy the Sunday paper.” It seemed crazy, but Phil searched the morning paper for any mention of a David Chase. According to Phil’s friend,  Janet Harris:

“He said to me, ‘A strange thing happened. A voice came to me about four this morning as I was sitting here studying. The voice told me his name and said that I need to look in the paper and that he was murdered and I need to help.’”

The body was found in Bear Creek River

David Chase was a local cabinetmaker who had drowned four months earlier. His wife was convinced he had been murdered. Phil Harris believed that, for some reason, he had been “chosen” to solve the case. When he met with David’s widow, Judi Chase, Judi said she was skeptical, until Phil began to talk about things only David could have known:

“There were a lot of very personal details about my relationship with David that nobody else knew. About our life together, our love for one another, pet names that David called me, he called me Honey Bunny and Sugies, things like this. There’s no way that Phil Harris could have known that.”

Phil and Judi struck an unusual deal. For one dollar, Phil agreed to investigate the case until it was solved.

David and Judi Chase had lived in Evergreen, Colorado, for eighteen months. They had no children but were planning to adopt two foster kids who were living with them.

Phil Harris

On June 6th, 1995, David was scheduled to work with a local handyman named Matt Orahoske. They needed to finish a roofing job and clear away brush from the local Elk’s Club. By noon, the work was done. The two men went to lunch, then stopped at the bank, where David cashed a check for $1800. Then he and Matt went to a local bar.

Judi was concerned when David didn’t come home that night, and by the next morning, she knew something was wrong. She immediately drove to Matt’s house. Matt told her he  had left David at the bar shooting pool. Later that morning, Judi claimed, Matt’s girlfriend called her:

“She said he had told her when she asked about David, that David had said, ‘Oh, I’m going for a swim. I’ve got a raft.’  I found this completely bewildering. I mean, my husband was a very experienced mountain climber, and had studied hypothermia, and knew full well the dangers of jumping into a snow-fed river. So the story was absolutely completely impossible for me to believe.”

The Bear Creek River runs right by the bar where David and Matt were last seen together. By this time, Judi didn’t believe anything Matt had to say, so she went to the police.  When Sgt. Brian Scott of Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department questioned Matt, he told the same story he had told his girlfriend:

“Matt has told us that he and David had been drinking most of the day. And then after they did that, they went out into the parking lot and unloaded these tree limbs from Matt’s truck into Bear Creek. As they finished unloading, Matt told us that David jumped into the river, and said, ‘Pick me up in Morrison.’”

Phil was awakened at 4am by a voice

Six weeks later, David’s body was found in the Bear Creek River, three miles downstream from where he was last seen. The autopsy supported Matt’s story. The coroner ruled that the cause of death was “consistent with drowning.”

But Judi said some of the coroner’s findings made her suspicious. For instance, even thought Matt claimed they had been drinking all day, the autopsy didn’t show that David was drunk at the time of death. Sgt. Scott said David’s neck was broken and there were unusual cuts on both of his legs:

“His clothes were evidently ripped from his body. He had partial clothing around his legs from his pants. And his shoes and socks were still intact but the rest of his clothes were missing.”

Matt’s girlfriend Judi suspected foul play:

“There’s was no way David’s blue jeans would come off, no matter how long he’d been in that water because he tucked them into his boots and the only way to get those jeans off would be to cut them off.”

Police questioned Matt again. This time, he changed two important details in his story.
He now said he and David left the bar and drove down the street to dump the brush from the job. He also said that David fell into the river, and didn’t jump. If it really was an accident, Judi wondered why Matt didn’t try to get help from the nearby fire station:

“This location was fifty yards from the fire station. It was ten yards from where people were still playing pool. You could have gotten someone to come and help within one minute, and David’s life could have been saved.”

It was three months later that Phil Harris contacted Judi to say that David had been speaking to him from beyond the grave on a regular basis. Phil said that the voice gave him details about what happened the day David disappeared. These are the exact words he heard:

“Before I deposited the check for $1800, he talked me into cashing it, and keeping the money in my pocket, under the guise of possibly buying a decent truck from him. I had second thoughts about buying a truck from Matt, and I told him that as we were leaving the bar. Matt was furious with me at the time, but I didn’t realize it. As soon as we got back to his truck, he started to tell me that I had promised him this money and therefore, it was his. Matt shoved me in the chest. I shoved him back and he hit me in the face. I immediately hit him back and all of a sudden he started bleeding very hard from the nose.  This made him extremely mad, and he flew into me. I went down very near the edge of the water. In fact, we were up against the small retaining wall, fighting on the ground.  We rolled around, and tried to punch each other and I feel Matt got in a couple of good punches. I only remember him hitting me in the back of the neck with a hard object. I don’t know what he hit me with, but it broke my neck.”

Phil went on to say that Matt had an accomplice who helped get rid of the body and the bloody clothes. Phil said that David’s voice told him the cuts on his legs came from a knife belonging to the accomplice:

“The knife that was used to cut my clothing off belonged to the other person. You were right, Phil, about the cuts on my legs. This is where Matt cut my clothes off, rather than take my boots off.”

On June 7, 1996, exactly a year and a day after David’s death, Phil took Judi to the local reservoir. He pointed out the area where he believed the murder weapon and the bloody clothes had been dumped. Phil recalled what David had told him about the murder weapon:

“David told me that they had tied David’s clothes around the murder weapon. He told the kid to throw them out in the middle of the river as far as he could throw ‘em.  I’m not sure whether it was a hammer, crowbar, or even just like a gardening tool.”

A week later, Phil died of a massive heart attack, leaving Judi to carry on their investigation alone:

“He was a hero in my eyes. I mean, he put everything else in his life aside to stand by my side and help me find the answers that I so desperately needed.”

Sgt. Scott said more evidence is need before an arrest can be made:

“Well, obviously, if we were going to develop a criminal case, we have to have something that we could present in court, that would be a prosecutable situation, and in order to do that, you have to have evidence that you can put your hands on and witnesses that you can talk to. So, the information that Phil Harris was presenting, although not discounted, needs to be corroborated through some other source.”

Matt Orahoske declined to be interviewed for this story. It’s important to remember that he has not been charged with any crime and the source of the accusations against him is highly questionable.

According to Phil Harris, the voice of David’s spirit told him there was, in fact, a witness to his murder.  If true, police are hoping that person will come forward.


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

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17 Comments

  1. Russell Coleman

    How come no one dived into the reservoir to get the items? At least use sonar from a boat to find it.

    Reply

  2. Ross Harris

    Did anyone look in the river for clothes and murder weapon ? And somebody said his neck broken. Give someone a lie-detector test ?

    Reply

  3. Former Resident

    I worked for and with Matt many of times. I was just getting into the tree business in evergreen when I was 19, 7 years ago. He took me in, showed me the ropes and was good to my family (mother and brother). Yeah he was rough around the edges but had the softest heart. It’s hard to believe that same person could be accused of something like this. I pray for him and everyone envolved.

    Reply

  4. Anonymous

    Judy was going out on his, and using him.

    Reply

    • Aubrey Gamboa

      What a horrible thing to say about someone whose husband was murdered in cold blood! I have reached out to Judi and she is a genuinely kindhearted person and I could never believe that! It takes a seriously sick and depraved person to speak so lowly of someone David loved with all his heart.

      Reply

  5. Anamous

    It’s crazy to think it’s been so long ago, but I just found the DVD from Robert Stacks Unsolved Mistories that I recordered from David’s murder/drowning. I didn’t know Dave very well but living in the Brook Forest area, I knew and avoided Matt as much as I could. A day or two before his demise he came to my house asking me how well I knew Matt, and went on to tell me that he didn’t enjoy working with him. He said: “I don’t really like drinking that much, but he always wants to drink beer after work.” The old saying of ‘let’s have a beer’ is an oxymoron since there is no such thing as ‘a beer.’ Also a few days later his wife showed up to ask a bunch of questions I couldn’t and still can’t answer. So I am not a lot of help but as crazy as Matt is, there’s no doubt that this was an ‘unsolved’ murder!!!

    Reply

  6. Chanita

    OMG! Why Did Matt Betray David Like That? That’s Wrong! I Think Matt Had Committed The ultimate Betrayal! He Was Posing As His Best Friend To Gain David’s Trust! I Will Pray For Both David And Matt! I’m Wondering This… What Had Triggered Matt’s Mind? Who Had Made Him Angry?

    Reply

  7. Mean mystery

    Yea the guy Matt did it. It sounds like LE in their town consists of a bunch of buffoons. At the very least hopefully the town now shuns this parasite Matt.

    Reply

  8. Nicole

    Im from Bailey and my dad knew Matt, they weren’t friends, they had competing businesses doing the same thing. I met him and even as a child he scared me. The hair on the back of your neck stands up when you’re around him. We remember seeing this on TV and were not surprised. If you knew him, the idea that Matt would be capable of doing this isn’t crazy. I wouldn’t be surprised if he did it before or again since this case. If he was angry, he was so scary. He showed up to our house once and my dad was pissed about it, my dad’s the most kind person in the wold but he knew Matt was dangerous. For my dad to think that way about someone says alot because my dad’s not scared of anyone, he wasn’t even scared of Matt but did not want him near our family. One of the scariest people I’ve ever crossed paths with.

    Reply

    • Evergreen Native

      I’m an Evergreen Native and have met Matt many times while working at the brook forest inn while I was in high school, everybody and their mom in Evergreen knows that it was him and he’s a very very strange creepy guy, he isn’t known as murderung Matt for no reason, I believe it was him.

      Reply

  9. harmony

    Praying for those involved that God would bring light into the darkness.

    Reply

  10. Johnny

    This should have been solved many years ago. Matt’s story changed a few times plus he had the means and the opportunity. Strong motive too. He saw David cash the $1800 check. He wanted the $ and David decided not to buy his car. That’s 2 motives. It seemed out of character for David to jump into the Bear Creek River after drinking several beers. Doesn’t make any sense. I’ve seen people convicted on much less. Phil would have got to the bottom of the case. Too bad he died from the massive heart attack.

    Reply

  11. Anonymous

    Sounds real awful…what happen to David. I do believe that Matt had something to do with his death. I do believe to was over that check David cashed. Its very unfortunate. Especially sense there really isn’t any hard evidence. However if both man went to have a drink at the bar. Someone might have seen or heard something. The cops should looked there first and started asking questions. Matt’s story has a bunch of holes in it. Who would just jump in the river? If I was the cop’s I would keep a closer eye on Matt. He is diffently a shady character.

    Reply

  12. Leah Hagins

    David Chase is here!
    I watched a small portion of his segment of unsolved mysteries. His presence is so strong! Since father Phil passed, it’s up to me now. It was a crowbar by the way, this what they hit him with. I first met David in Florida about two years ago. I think he had bee sizing me up because he knew I have the gift. After seeing his story yesterday, I have renewed since of urgency to help him. He is here with me right now. I know things…. details…
    Leah hagins
    I’m scared

    Reply

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ACCESSING, CHANGING AND DELETING PERSONAL INFORMATION

We rely on you to update and correct your Personal Data.  If you are a user of our Sites, subscriber to [CMP product], purchaser of CMP products and services, you can review, update and correct your information directly on CMP’s website or by contacting us using the information in the “Contact Information” section below.

 

Typically, we retain your Personal Data for the period necessary to fulfill the purposes outlined in this Privacy Policy, unless a longer retention period is required or permitted by law.  This may include retaining your Personal Data indefinitely, even after you are no longer a CMP member, in order to provide you with future marketing opportunities and other purposes, as well as to comply with our legal obligations, resolve disputes, or enforce any of our agreements.  

 

Please note that you can request, at any time, that we delete your Personal Data.  All requests must be directed to the contact in the “Contact Information” section below.  We can decide to delete your Personal Data if we believe that the data is incomplete, inaccurate, or that our continued use and storage are contrary to our obligations to other members, individuals, or third parties.  When we delete your Personal Data, it will be removed from our active databases or anonymized so that the data is no longer identified with you, but the data may remain in our archives if CMP determines that it is not practical or possible to delete it.

Your Personal Data is processed in the United States, where privacy laws may be less stringent than the laws in your country and where the government, courts, or law enforcement may be able to access your data.  By submitting your Personal Data to us, you agree to the transfer, storage and processing of your Personal Data in the United States.

You, as the data subject, have the right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority, in particular in the Member State of your habitual residence, place of work, or place of the alleged infringement, if you believe that the processing of your personal data does not comply with legal requirements.

In the event we determine the occurrence of a data security incident, we will notify you by email, US mail, telephone, or other means as permitted by law.

If you have questions, comments, or complaints concerning our privacy practices or if you wish to change, access, or remove your Personal Data, please contact us as indicated below.  We will attempt, where practical, to respond to your requests and to provide you with additional privacy related information.

Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. is the owner of this Website and retains all ownership rights to the information collected at this Website. Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. reserves the right to change, modify, add, or remove provisions of this Privacy Statement. Any changes to this Privacy Statement will be posted here, and we encourage you to check back from time to time. In addition, Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. will notify registered users of changes as they occur.

We allow third-party companies to serve ads and/or collect certain anonymous information when you visit our web site. These companies may use non-personally identifiable information (e.g., click stream information, browser type, time and date, subject of advertisements clicked or scrolled over) during your visits to this and other Web sites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services likely to be of greater interest to you. These companies typically use a cookie or third party web beacon to collect this information. To learn more about this behavioral advertising practice or to opt-out of this type of advertising, you can visit networkadvertising.org. Your use of the site constitutes your agreement to accept cookies, beacons and third-party advertising. Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. assumes no responsibility for third-party ads.

ARTICLE 1. Personalization
1.1 We may use the contact information you give us to better tailor your Website experience to your interests, and to send you information about Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. and its services as well as promotional material on behalf of some of our partners. We may use other information that you provide to us to show you content in which you may be interested and to display the content according to your preferences. We will also share this information within Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. in order to enhance your experience on this and other Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. Websites.
1.2 In addition, we may share this information with advertisers or other third parties that are not part of the Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. family on an aggregate or other basis that does not disclose your identity or contact information.

ARTICLE 2. Online Surveys/Contests
2.1 From time to time, we may conduct online surveys and contests. These may ask you for contact information (like name or email address) and demographic information (like zip code or age).
2.2 We may use this contact information from our surveys and contests to provide you with information about our company and promotional material on behalf of some of our partners, and to contact you when necessary.

ARTICLE 3. Shopping/Commercial Services
3.1 This Website may offer shopping services, which may be offered by us or by a firm that operates a store under contract with us. If our Website offers shopping or other commercial services, you will use a customer order form to request information, products, and services. The order form will ask you to give us contact information (like name or email address), financial information (like account or credit card numbers), and demographic information (like zip code or age).

3.2 We will use the financial information that you provide to bill you for products and services. By giving our Website your credit card and related personal information, you are authorizing our store to give that information to the merchant and credit card company in order to confirm and fulfill your order.

3.3 We will use contact information from the order form to fulfill your orders. We may also use contact data to get in touch with you when necessary. We will not otherwise use or distribute your financial information without your prior approval.

ARTICLE 4. Public forums
4.1 This Website may make available chat rooms, blogs, forums, message boards, and news groups. Please remember that any information that you disclose in these areas becomes public information and you should exercise caution when deciding to disclose your personal information. Information disclosed by you or by others enters the public domain and may be freely used by any other persons or entities using the site.

ARTICLE 5. Information Sharing With Third Parties
5.1 From time to time we may enter into a special relationship with another company that is not owned by Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. to provide additional features at this Website. These special relationships may include “powered by” partners, business partners, sponsors, and co-branded sites (referred to here as “co-branded pages”). These might include, for example, pages that share our name and that of another entity. You should look for a specific privacy statement on any such co-branded page. Any personal information that you provide when signing up at one of those co-branded pages may be shared with our third party partner. You should also check our partner’s website for information regarding its privacy policies.

5.2 Also, the nature of some features of our Website may require that we share personal information about you with persons or companies outside of Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. For example, this may occur at a feature that enables you, via our Website, to ask questions of persons or entities that are not part of Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. By responding to those features of the site, whether by email or direct entry of information on our Website, you are consenting to our transferring that information to such persons or entities.

5.3 With respect to specific registration modules, like contests, we may disclose personal information collected, and we may post a conspicuous statement on the registration module to the effect that we will be disclosing the information collected with third parties.

5.4 Finally, we may share any of the information collected from you with these other non- Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc companies in an aggregate basis. The aggregated information is not linked to any information that can identify you.

ARTICLE 6. IP Address and Log Files
6.1 We may use your IP address to administer our Website, to help diagnose problems with our server, to analyze trends, to track users’ webpage movements, to help identify you and your shopping cart, and to gather broad demographic information for aggregate use.

ARTICLE 7. Cookies
7.1 This Website may use a standard technology called a “cookie” to collect information about how you use the Website. Cookies reside on your computer and help our Website to recognize your computer’s browser as a previous visitor. This information allows us to customize delivery of information. For example, our Website may use cookies to save and remember registration information or preferences that you may have set while browsing the Website, to keep track of your shopping cart, to ensure you don’t see the same ad content repeatedly, to deliver content specific to your interests, and to save your password so you do not have to re-enter it each time you visit our site. We use cookies only to gather information as indicated in this policy.

7.2 In addition, on occasion our site may also set a “session cookie” which helps us administer the Website. The session cookie expires when you close your browser and does not retain any information about you after it expires.

7.3 Finally, we may also use an ad network provider to help present advertisements on this and other Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. websites. This ad network provider, like other advertising service vendors, uses cookies, web beacons, or similar technologies on the hard drive of your computer to serve you advertisements tailored to interests you have shown by browsing on this and other sites you have visited, and to determine whether you have seen a particular advertisement before and to avoid sending you duplicate advertisements. In doing so, the provider collects non-personal data such as your browser type, your operating system, web pages visited, time of visits, content viewed, ads viewed, and other clickstream data. The use of cookies, web beacons, or similar technologies by these ad network providers is subject to their own privacy policies, not ours, and Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. assumes no responsibility for the collection or use of such information.

ARTICLE 8. Banner Advertising
8.1 We have contracted with an ad-service to place banner advertising on our Website. All of the data provided and generated by the ad-server software remains in our possession. This feature of our Website may, on occasion, set “cookies” on your computer. Any information collected or stored by the ad-service or the cookies is treated in the same manner as other information described in this statement.

ARTICLE 9. Children’s Personal Information
9.1 Consistent with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act:

9.1.1 This site does NOT collect, use, or disclose personal information (including online contact information) of children under the age of thirteen (13).

9.1.2 In the event that a child under the age of 13 attempts to register on our site, we will NOT accept the registration and will delete information received from the child.

9.1.3 In the event that a child posts personal information in a public forum such as a chat room, we will attempt to delete that information once we become aware of it.

ARTICLE 10. Security of Your Personal Information
10.1 Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. employs reasonable security measures consistent with standard industry practice, for information collected through this Website. We believe that we have adequate security measures in place in our physical facilities to protect against the loss, misuse, or alteration of the information we collect on our Website. We also use internal protections to limit access to users’ personal information to only those employees who need the information to perform a specific job.

ARTICLE 11. Sale or Merger
11.1 If this Website is sold to, or merges with, another company not owned by Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc., you should expect that some or all of the information collected from this Website may be transferred to the buyer/surviving company. If so, CMP will seek to obligate the acquiring company to use any personal information transferred by this Website in a manner consistent with this statement, but cannot guarantee that it will be able to impose that requirement or that the acquiring company will comply.

ARTICLE 12. Legal Process
12.1 You should be aware that Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. may be required to disclose your personal information to the government or third parties under certain circumstances, such as in court or regulatory proceedings.

ARTICLE 13.  Contacting the Website

13.1        If you have any questions about this Privacy Statement, the practices of this Website, or your dealings with this Website, please contact us at: unsolved@unsolved.com.

ARTICLE 14.  general information

14.1        Choice of Law:  This Agreement and the Additional Terms shall be governed by, construed and enforced in accordance with the laws of the State of California , as it is applied to agreements entered into and to be performed entirely within such state, without regard to conflict of law principles.

14.2        Choice of Forum:  You agree that any cause of action you or Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. brings to enforce this Agreement and/or the Additional Terms, or in connection with any matters related to this Website and/or the Privacy Statement, shall be submitted to arbitration in the County of Los Angeles, State of California, United States of America in accordance with the commercial rules and regulations of the American Arbitration Association then in effect (as amended herein), provided that said arbitration shall be heard before a single arbitrator, who shall be a retired judge, selected pursuant to such rules and regulations, and shall be conducted on an expedited basis and in confidence. The arbitrator’s decision shall be controlled by the terms and conditions of this agreement and any other agreements I may enter into with you, and shall be final and binding, and shall provide for each party to bear its own costs of arbitration and attorneys’ fees.  Each party expressly waives any right to a jury.  Judgment upon the award of the arbitrator may be entered or enforced in any court of competent jurisdiction. 

14.4        If any provision of this Agreement, or the application thereof to any person or circumstances, is held invalid or for any reason unenforceable then such provision shall be deemed superseded by a valid, enforceable provision that matches, as closely as possible, the original provision, and the other provisions of this Agreement shall remain in full force and effect.  The failure of either party to insist upon strict performance of any provision of this Agreement shall not be construed as a waiver of any provision or right.  Unless expressly provided otherwise, this Agreement is the entire agreement between you and Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. with respect to the use of this Website and shall not be modified except in writing, signed by an authorized representative of Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc.

ARTICLE 15.  European Union and Other Foreign Nations

15.1        This Website is governed by and operated in accordance with the laws of United States of America and is intended for enjoyment of residents of the United States.  Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. makes no representation that this Website is governed by or operated in accordance with the laws of other nations.  By using this Website and submitting any personal information, visitors from outside of the United States acknowledge this Website is subject to U.S. law, consent to the transfer of personal data to the U.S., and waive any claims that may arise under their own national laws.