Investigation Discovery’s ‘Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda: The Highway’ depicts how two perpetrators almost fatally assaulted 58-year-old Sigrid Griswold and left her for dead off I-25 in Colorado. However, the tough and determined woman survived her injuries and helped the authorities catch her assaulters. The episode stands as a testament to her strong will and provides a concise and chronological view of the events. If you’re interested in finding out more, here’s what we know.
How was Sigrid Griswold Assaulted?
Sigrid Griswold was born in Czechoslovakia and was described as a tough woman by her loved ones. Her daughter, Michelle France, recalled, “My mom was very altruistic. She cared for other people, and they loved her.” Her other daughter, Robin Hadley, recounted, “She had a great life until World War II. They were taken out of their home and put in a labor camp.” Hence, it was shocking when a truck driver Carl Walker found Sigrid — bloodied and distressed — while heading south on I-25.
Carl said he was driving when he suddenly saw the 58-year-old standing on the shoulder of the highway at the Eden exit off of I-25. He took her to the Park View Hospital in his truck. Police sources stated she had bruising around her face and some puncture wounds in her chest. The attending physician noted that another quarter of an inch, either way, would have caused the blade to penetrate her heart and kill her. The medical personnel also informed them about the bruises on her neck, indicating an attempt to manually strangle her.
The show highlighted how it was uncommon to find a victim injured in three different ways — assaulted, strangled, and stabbed. According to Michelle, her sister, Robin, was supposed to meet their mother at Acacia Park. Robin said, “They were having a concert downtown where I work. So I called and asked her if she wanted to meet me down there.” However, Sigrid never showed up, and the daughter was heartbroken and felt responsible and guilty when she heard about her mother’s brush with death.
Who Assaulted Sigrid Griswold?
Interviewing Michelle, the officers learned Sigrid drove an ’87 blue Lincoln Town car, which was not found when some of their colleagues went to the place off I-25 where she was found. They understood the perpetrators had stolen her car and put out an APB on the vehicle. Meanwhile, the police went through her belongings — pieces of bloody clothing, one shoe, and a purse — when her daughter reported that Sigrid’s gold necklace was missing. As the authorities were piecing together the information, one nurse informed them Sigrid was out of surgery.
The woman wanted to speak with the police despite her critical health condition since she wanted her assaulters to be caught. The investigators interviewed her to learn she had pulled up in the parking lot when an individual barged into the front seat of her car, and another man climbed into the back seat. They gagged and strangled her as they drove her vehicle on the highway. According to Sigrid, the man in the back seat attempted to strangle her twice but failed due to some injury to his right hand.
She claimed he heard him distinctly saying, “You’re a tough old lady. Why won’t you die?” They decided to stab her and stopped the car at a remote spot as they did not want blood inside the vehicle. They dragged Sigrid out, beat her, and stabbed her several times. However, she pretended she was dead before dragging herself onto the highway, where Carl saw her and drove her to the hospital. She told the officers she could not see the face of the man in the backseat as she had closed her eyes when he tried to strangle her from behind.
However, Sigrid provided a detailed description of the individual driving her car — he was white, blonde, and had a mustache. She told the officers she had overheard them going to Los Angeles through Albuquerque. The episode explained it made sense since I-25 and 1-40 is the only route to take out of Central New Mexico to California. Based on all the information, the authorities pulled out a detailed APB, and some patrolling officers spotted the vehicle and the duo within hours.
The individuals — Wallace Glenn Eckersley and Daniel Immel — were arrested. They elected not to talk without the presence of their attorneys. Meanwhile, Sigrid picked Wallace from a criminal lineup since she distinctly remembered his face. However, she had not seen the second individual but recalled his exact words — “You’re a tough old lady. Why won’t you die?” She picked Daniel after the authorities arranged for a slightly unusual audio lineup where each suspect came forward and uttered those words.
Where Are Wallace Glenn Eckersley and Daniel Immel Now?
After they were identified, Daniel decided to cooperate and told the police what exactly happened. He admitted to drinking with Wallace when they decided to hitchhike to California since the latter was from there. They concocted a scheme to steal a car and drive to their destination through a haze of alcohol. When they saw Sigrid in the parking lot, they made her their target. However, Daniel failed to strangulate her since he had a weakness in his right arm caused by a drunk driving incident a few years ago.
According to the show, the accident had injured his right hand and caused permanent damage. Eventually, Daniel took a plea deal, pled guilty to second-degree kidnapping, and was sentenced to 36 years. Wallace went to trial and was convicted of second-degree kidnapping and attempted second-degree murder. The court sentenced him to 40 years in prison. Their absence in the current Colorado inmate database suggests the convicts have served their sentence and were released.