When Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer and Annette Schnee disappeared from the ski town of Breckenridge, Colorado, in 1982, the police believed they were separate incidents. Although the former’s body was located the following day, they realized that the cases were connected only after coming across Annette Schnee’s remains about six months after the incident. ’48 Hours: Last Seen in Breckenridge’ chronicles these gruesome murders and showcases how the police investigation witnessed no progress until advanced DNA testing techniques led authorities to Breckenridge local Alan Lee Phillips. So, let’s delve into the details surrounding the same and find out where Alan is at present, shall we?
Who Is Alan Lee Phillips?
A resident of Breckenridge, Colorado, Alan Lee Phillips was quite well-known in the town. In fact, he was well acquainted with local law enforcement officials and was working as a miner back in 1982. Interestingly, on January 6 back then, the same day as Bobbie and Annette’s disappearance, the police as well as some firemen had helped mount an all-out rescue for Alan, who had gotten stuck in his truck in a snowstorm. Finding no way out, he’d used a flashlight to flash SOS in morse code until a sheriff flying above picked up the signal and sent in help. However, once a local fire chief named Dave Montoya reached his truck, he found that the miner had a massive bruise on his face. At that time, the latter explained it off by claiming that he’d fallen in the snow, but the police later learned he had actually got it after being punched by Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer, who wore a brass ring on her fingers.
As mentioned above, on January 6, 1982, both Bobbie Jo Oberholtzer and Annette Schnee went missing from the town of Breckenridge while trying to hitchhike. While the latter disappeared after visiting a medicine store, the former was bar hopping and vanished into thin air after informing her husband, Jeff Oberholtzer, that she would be returning home soon. However, once Jeff realized that his wife had never come home, he got a search party together and combed through the local areas looking for the missing woman. Eventually, Bobbie’s body was located in a wooded area off the highway about five miles south of Breckenridge, and an autopsy determined she had been shot twice, leading to her death. Even though a medical examiner ruled out sexual abuse of any kind, the police found drops of blood on the victim’s gloves and an orange sock on the ground nearby.
The blood on Bobbie’s gloves was soon determined to be that of an unknown male — it was not a match to anyone in the police database. Unfortunately, the case then sat without progress, that is, until authorities located Annette’s body about six months after the incident. While Annette was also shot to death, investigators noticed that she was wearing the other pair of the same orange sock, which indicated that both murders were related. The initial investigation into them, though, appeared extremely tough as there were no leads or witnesses to work with. Moreover, while officials could confirm that they were carried out by one person, the DNA did not lead to any suspect, and people who knew the victims had no idea why anyone would want to hurt them.
Interestingly, while looking through Annette’s backpack, which was beside her body, the authorities found a business card with Jeff Oberholtzer’s name on it, making him the primary suspect in the two homicides. Apart from Jeff being acquainted with both victims, the show mentioned that Jeff’s alibi of being at work turned out to be false, which further deepened the dark cloud of suspicion hanging over his head. However, he was eventually cleared of all accusations as his DNA did not match the one at the crime scene. Subsequently, the police looked at a few other possible suspects, but with no luck, the case sat unsolved until 2020.
Where Is Alan Lee Phillips Today?
In 2020, authorities revisited the case and used genetic genealogy to trace the DNA found at the crime scene. The test led officials to Alan and Bruce Phillips, and while Bruce was not a resident of Breckenridge, his brother, Alan, was a resident of that town. Immediately, the police tested Alan’s DNA against the one at the crime scene, and when that came out a perfect match, he was arrested and charged with the murders.
When presented in court, Alan pled not guilty to the charges against him, but the jury believed otherwise. In September 2022, they eventually convicted him on two counts of first-degree murder along with other charges of first-degree kidnapping and first-degree assault. As a result, Alan was handed two consecutive life sentences without parole in November 2022 and is currently held at the Denver Reception & Diagnostic Center in Denver, Colorado.