Suspect in Blee case now missing himself

IRS may be asked to help with search

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— One suspect in the disappearance of Hayden teen-ager Marie Blee 20 years ago has disappeared himself. After investigators spoke with Monty Doolin at his Grand Junction home in September 1999, he moved out and hasn't been seen or heard from since.

"It's strange because he and his wife had just moved into the home about a month before we questioned him," Moffat County Undersheriff Jerry Hoberg said. "We'll probably ask the IRS to help us locate him and we'll be going down to Grand Junction to see if he's around. I don't think he's probably ventured too far from Grand Junction."

Doolin is one of three men named as those who know what happened to the young girl two decades ago. Max Able Garcia of Portland, Ore. and Steve Skufca of Craig are also named by the Moffat County Sheriff's Department as primary suspects in the girl's disappearance.

Mona Blee, Marie's mother, said that she isn't concerned about the fact that Doolin has disappeared.

"I don't know if I'd even recognize him if I saw him on the street," she said. "It's been a long time since I've seen him last."

Marie Blee disappeared from a party in Craig in November 1979. First investigated as a runaway, local police were lax in following leads in the case, Hoberg said. Once the investigation turned to a solid missing person case, the suspect trail was cold.

Now, 20 years later, a task force has been formed in the hopes of solving the case. The task force consists of members of the FBI, Moffat and Routt county deputies and Hayden and Craig police.

"People are so afraid to come forward. I just don't understand why someone won't come forward and tell us where the body is," Hoberg said. "We want to give this girl a proper burial. It's been investigated as a possible drug overdose. If that's the case, the statute of limitations has expired; we wouldn't be able to do anything about it. At least her parents would have some peace of mind."

Both Max Abel Garcia and Steve Skufca have maintained their innocence through the renewed investigation.

"Garcia says he wasn't involved and he is adamant about it," Hoberg said. "I think he might know what happened or may have some knowledge about what happened that night."

Skufca has used his parents as an alibi for years and claims he wasn't at the party that Blee disappeared from.

However, witnesses put Blee with Doolin, Skufca and Abel the night she disappeared, Hoberg said.

The task force would like a grand jury to be called to investigate the evidence in the case.

"We basically need to get 20 years of witness statements condensed into one version of who said what," Hoberg said. "We need a full set of reports with a time line. It's a lot of work, we've probably talked to more than 50 people over the years. There were just too darn many people who were at the party the night she disappeared."

The task force has been searching sites in Routt and Moffat counties on tips that they are possible locations where Blee's body may have been dumped or buried. After uncovering numerous bones last fall that turned out to be animal remains, Hoberg said the task force will again search new locations this spring.


-- To reach Bryna Larsen call 871-4205 or e-mail blarsen@amigo.net

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