The Pueblo West View

Rye murder suspect was running with nowhere to go

Harry Mapps was running but had nowhere to go.

When U.S. marshals and Oklahoma police arrested Mapps in a Roland, Okla., motel Saturday night, the prime suspect in the murder of a Rye family had shaved his beard and cut his hair — but still drove the dark blue Chrysler van with Colorado plates that police across the nation were looking for.

“We don’t know yet what Mapps intended, but he seemed to be driving a trucker’s route, just trying to stay on the run,” said Pueblo County Undersheriff J.R. Hall. “He’d changed his own appearance but not anything about the vehicle we were looking for. That’s one of the many things about this case we don’t understand yet.”

Mapps, a former truck driver, is suspected in the shooting deaths of Reginald and Kim Tuttle, along with their daughter, Dawn Roderick, at the Tuttle home Nov. 27. The house was set on fire but investigators found the bodies inside the burned home.

Mapps, who’d lived with the Tuttles, was photographed shortly afterward at the wheel of his van as he cashed a check at a Lamar bank. Investigators believe he cashed two of Reg Tuttle’s checks, totaling $8,000. More than $5,700 in two bank envelopes was recovered from Mapps’ motel room after his arrest Saturday.

The suspect will be transported back to Pueblo soon but Hall declined to say whether Mapps admitted anything to investigators.

“I can only say he’s being relatively cooperative as a suspect,” he said.

Mapps waived any opposition to being extradited back to Colorado when he appeared in district court in Sequoyah County, Okla.

Federal marshals and Oklahoma police found 23 handguns, rifles and shotguns in Mapps’ room and the van parked at the Interstate Inn, on U.S. Route 64 in Roland. It’s also close to Interstate 40 and just across the border from Fort Smith, Ark.

“I’m almost 100 percent sure those are my dad’s guns,” said Toby Barnes, who was Tuttle’s stepson but loved him as his father. “My dad was an avid collector. I don’t know what Harry thought he’d do with them.”

Investigators also recovered a Cabela’s credit card in Tuttle’s name in the motel room.

Mapps was no stranger to the Tuttle family. Barnes said he’d known him for more than 20 years and considered him a family friend, never imagining Mapps could be a danger to his parents.

“My dad gave him a job driving when Harry needed one,” the son said. “That’s the kind of guy my dad was.”

Hall said the sheriff’s department had directed all nine of its detectives working the Tuttle case. One detective was even dedicated to taking the many leads that were telephoned to the department. Investigators believe Mapps did travel through Iowa and possibly Missouri while on the run.

“We had tips he was here in Pueblo. Or that he was in Miami,” Hall said. “We followed up on every lead. This was such a heinous crime in our community we knew we had to apply all our resources to solving it.”

proper@chieftain.com

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