Neighbors say an Aurora man killed his mother and grandmother in a rural home early this week, alarming residents in the small town of Kirk, near the Kansas border.
"It's just kind of shocking," said Kenna Dible, whose parents live near the home where the bodies were found.
"You don't expect your family to come in and do something like that to your own family."
Tyler Withrow, 30, of Aurora, has been charged with two counts of premeditated murder, and community members said the victims are his mother, Dianne Doddridge, 60, and grandmother, Elva Doddridge, 88.
Property records show the two women lived at the home where the killings occurred at 7328 County Road P.
However, Yuma County authorities said Friday that initial autopsies conducted Thursday by the Jefferson County Coroner's Office were unable to confirm the identities of the two women four days after they were killed.
Investigators are collecting dental X-rays to confirm the identities, Yuma County sheriff's spokeswoman Angel Earl said.
The normal procedure is for the coroner to use fingerprint identification.
Asked if the bodies had somehow been disfigured or mutilated to prevent fingerprint identification, Earl said she could not comment. A judge has imposed a gag order in the case, restricting the details authorities can release.
Earl said she could not provide the cause and manner of death determined by the autopsies because Yuma County Sheriff Chad Day had not authorized the release.
The Withrow family released a statement Friday through the Sheriff's Office.
"The family of the victims and Tyler Withrow are devastated by the news they received this week," the statement said. "They thank everyone for their support, love, kindness and prayers during this time of great sadness. In this difficult time, the family is trying to cope with this tragic loss."
"Very little is known regarding what transpired and the family is working with the authorities," the statement continued. "The family understands that Tyler is in custody and their thoughts and prayers are with him." The family requested privacy and declined further comment.
The incident began at 10:35 a.m. Monday when a woman called 911 and gave her address, saying she needed the Sheriff's Office and then the phone was hung up, authorities said.
It took about 35 minutes for the first deputies from Wray to reach the remote home. They found Withrow at the home along with the women's bodies, The Associated Press reported.
Meanwhile, Withrow, has been placed on a suicide watch at the Yuma County Jail "as a matter of procedure due to the severity of the charges," Earl said. She said this is routine and there are no indications that Withrow is suicidal.
The Sheriff's Office said investigators have executed search warrants at the crime scene and two of Tyler Withrow's residences in the metro Denver area: Withrow's townhome at 2500 S. Victor St. in Aurora and the Erie home of Withrows father.
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