The community of Cañon City continues to grieve the devastating loss of two children and their mother.
Friends and family came together for a candlelight service in honor of those they lost in Sunday’s tragic murder.
Family members were in attendance, including the surviving teen who ran for help and called police. They seemed visibly touched by everyone who showed up to support them during this terrible time.
The service was held at the First Southern Baptist Church in Cañon City. About a hundred people came to show their support.
Candles were lit to honor the three who were killed: 35-year-old Mandy Folsom and her two kids, 9-year-old Marissa and 5-year-old Mason.
We talked to one girl who told us Marissa was her best friend.
"Me and (Marissa) would always be in gymnastics. Me and her like animals, and she was in my class," Jozlyn Gonzales said.
"That's what we're trying to do, support this family and come beside them and let them know that we too share the loss. We to have lost something along with this family," Pastor Tom Killgore added.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been made public.
A man accused of killing a mom and her two children is in jail. Jaacob Vanwinkle is facing multiple charges including first-degree murder, kidnapping and sex assault.
According to Cañon City Police, officers were dispatched to a home on Phay Avenue around 8 p.m. Sunday on reports of a sexual assault. Police say that a teenage girl got out of her house and went to a neighbor's home to have them call 911. Officers are still working to piece together exactly what happened next.
Officers say they found three bodies inside the home near the 1100 block of Phay Avenue in Cañon City.
Police say the victims are a mother and her two children, ages five and nine. The family tells 11 News they are Mandy Folsom, 35, and her two children Marissa and Mason.
Investigators tell 11 News the suspect was friends with Folsom. He was living at the home for a few months. Detectives say at one point, the suspect was in a relationship with Folsom. It's unclear if they were at the time of the murders.
Public records indicate the woman was renting the home.
Vanwinkle is a registered sex offender from a 2004 conviction of child molestation and vicarious sexual gratification out of Indiana. He is a registered sex offender in Fremont County. We're told he failed to re-register on March 4, 2014. The Fremont County Sheriff's Office says they were in the process of issuing an arrest warrant for Vanwinkle when the triple murder happened. He has to register every quarter.
Right now, he is charged with three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of kidnapping, sex assault, and sex assault on a child by a person in a position of trust.
Vanwinkle is being held without bond. We're told he could face the death penalty.
The two children he allegedly killed were both in school. The 9-year-old girl went to Washington Elementary. The 5-year-old boy was in preschool and attended Spin Early Childhood. The school district has grief counselors available to the students at those schools.
Vanwinkle has a criminal history in Colorado and Indiana. In Colorado he pleaded guilty to assault in October 2012 and was sentenced to 18 months in jail. He was released in August 2013.
He currently has a warrant open out of Adams County for a protection order violation.
In Indiana, besides the sex crimes conviction, in a separate case, he was convicted of receiving stolen property. He was sentenced to 841 days. He was released in July of 2011 after serving 361 days. He was released early for good behavior.
In September 2011, a warrant was issued for his arrest for violating parole. He apparently didn't show up for an appointment that was scheduled. He was released again on parole in January 2012. He went off of parole in Indiana in May of 2012.
Vanwinkle had been questioned by police in Indiana three years ago when his roommate was found dead in a home. Detectives found Vanwinkle hiding out in the woods. He admitted to moving his roommate's body and burying it under clothes in the home's attic. A later autopsy revealed the man had died of natural causes and Vanwinkle wasn't charged.
Anyone with information that could help investigators in the triple homicide case is asked to call Canon City police at 719-276-5600.
If you need to talk with someone about the murders of a mom and her two kids, West Central Mental Health is here to help. You can call them 24/7 at 719-275-2351. They can also help parents with how you can talk with your kids about this since many of them will be hearing about it at school and through friends.
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