Couple killed in Black Forest Fire identified as Marc Allen Herklotz and Robin Lauran Herklotz

BLACK FOREST, Colo. - The couple killed in the Black Forest Fire, the most destructive fire in state history, was identified Tuesday afternoon by the El Paso County Coroner and Sheriff's Office.

Marc Allen Herklotz, 52, and Robin Herklotz, 50, lived in a two-story home on nearly 3-acres of land at 6720 Jicarilla Drive in Black Forest. That property was included on the first list of homes lost to the fire.

On Tuesday, Sheriff Terry Maketa said the coroner had to call in additional help because there was "very little to work with."

The couple was identified through a cooperative effort between Forensic Odontologist Dr. Joe Gentile and El Paso County Coroner Dr. Robert Bux. An Ondotonologist is a forensic dentist who uses dental records to identify remains.

"We extend our deepest sympathy to the family and friends they leave behind," the sheriff's office wrote.

Last week, Maketa said the couple was found in the garage with the car doors open. Maketa said they appeared to be in the process of evacuating.

Marc Herklotz and Robin Herklotz were longtime civilian employees of the Air Force Space Command at Schriever Air Force Base, "supporting critical air, space and cyberspace operational missions," the Air Force said in a statement Tuesday.

Marc Herklotz was hailed as the high-tech "wizard" who developed a program called SCOPES -- for Space Common Operating Picture Exploitation System --  to "track satellites and their visibility to ground stations located around the world," according to a report, "The Strategic Nature of the Tactical Satellite," published by the Airpower Research Institute and other satellite technology publications.

"The men and women of Air Force Space Command are saddened by the loss of these two members of our AFSPC family," said General William L. Shelton, AFSPC Commander.  "I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Marc and Robin during this very difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with you."

After receiving confirmation of the deaths, chaplains, commanders and grief counselors were called into support the couple's colleagues, officials said.  

Marc Herklotz entered the Air Force in 1983 and served with the 2nd Satellite Control Squadron, at Peterson Air Force Base until 1987.  He returned to the Air Force as a civil servant in 1996 and most recently worked at Schriever AFB in the Innovation Division of the Air, Space and Cyberspace Operations Directorate of AFSPC.

Robin Herklotz was employed by a government contractor as a systems engineer in the same office as her husband at Schriever AFB.

El Paso County officials and members of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations are investigating their deaths, according to the statement issued by Peterson Air Force Base.

The latest information about the fire indicates it is 85 percent contained. It has destroyed 509 homes and damaged 28, but Maketa said Tuesday that number is expected to rise as his office works with the Assessor's Office to identify the locations of all the homes in that area.

The previous record for the most destructive fire in Colorado was set last year by the Waldo Canyon Fire which ravaged almost 350 homes. Two lives were also lost in that wildfire.

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