Supect Abel Lujan arrested in 1999 Longmont cold case murder of Bernadette Frost

LONGMONT, Colo. - DNA testing and dozens of interviews have led to an arrest in a 1999 cold case out of Longmont.

Abel Lujan, 46, is being held on an arrest warrant for the first-degree murder of Bernadette Frost on April 22, 1999. She was 30 years old at the time of her death.

Her body was found outside of an apartment complex at 1303 Coffman St.

The arrest affidavit catalogs interviews with Lujan and several witnesses. The first interview begins with details of how Lujan tried to hide from police inside his apartment on the day of the interview.

Officers eventually obtained a search warrant and found him inside.

Later that day, Lujan told a detective he met Frost at the Group Therapy bar in Longmont in January 1999. They dated and began to live together the next month.

Lujan was interviewed several more times. He answered questions about his drug use, drinking and the night of Frost's death.

During one interview in April 1999, Lujan told detectives he had a "shooter" of alcohol on the night of Frost's death, according to the affidavit. That kind of container was found near her body, the affidavit said.

Additionally, it says a 32-ounce beer bottle was also "staged" in her hand.

Lujan also admitted to restraining Frost about two weeks before her death, the affidavit says. She bit him during that incident and he showed the scars to the detectives.

The affidavit said those "bite marks were consistent with defensive wounds a strangulation victim would inflict if being strangled from behind."

Years later, in October 2002, investigators interviewed a woman who worked at the bar where Frost and Lujan met. She told officers she  witnessed Lujan's abuse of Frost, including an incident about two weeks before the murder where she saw Lujan hit and choke Frost.

The affidavit says she told police that Lujan had said, "'I'm going to put you 10 feet under.'"

In 2012, a detective was reviewing records when he found an entry about a call in November 2004. The affidavit indicates the call was from a Loveland woman who said "she had information about a female who was 'murdered in Boulder County somewhere in 1999 or 2000.'"

The caller said she was in contact with an inmate in the Arkansas Valley Correctional facility in Crowley and that the inmate told her to call police because he had information about the crime.

Three of the following paragraphs about the inmate were redacted, but the affidavit showed the inmate was interviewed on May 31, 2012.

The inmate told investigators that he had known Lujan for 20 years in and outside of correctional facilities. During that time, Lujan had allegedly told the inmate he was under investigation for a murder that involved cocaine.

The 76-page affidavit says a court order to compare a DNA sample from the crime scene was signed by a judge on Aug. 22, 2013 -- exactly 14 years after Frost's death. The name of the person whose DNA officers wanted was redacted, but the document does indicate a witness told investigators he saw the unnamed person covered in blood.

Lujan was also interviewed about that unnamed person. The documents show he told investigators he didn't remember how they had met and they had not seen each other since 1999 when they were in the Boulder County Jail together.

The affidavit shows the unidentified man was originally cooperative when detectives traveled to California to get his DNA, but later became confrontational and demanded a warrant.

With the redactions it is hard to know for sure, but it is unclear if this branch of the case was ever resolved.

In a June 20, 2013 interview, Lujan told investigators Frost owed people money for drugs. He also told them about getting into a fight with "some guy" who claimed he was Frost's boyfriend.

Pages 67 through 74 of the affidavit were redacted, but follow the section title "Abel Lujan's Similar History of Violence with Other Female Victims."

The final two pages of the document are about the DNA tested during the investigation of the case. Significant portions are redacted, but it does reveal that samples from under Frost's fingernails and from the 32-ounce beer bottle were tested by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

As a result of the testing, the detective concludes there is enough evidence to arrest Lujan for first-degree murder.

Lujan appeared in court for the charge on Nov. 26, and was granted bail at $500,000. The judge also prohibited  him from having contact with any of the witnesses in the case.