Homicide Hunter: 20 Active Duty Military and Veteran Murder Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery

A Killer Always Rings Twice (Season 1, Episode 3):

When 22 year-old Micki Filmore is found raped and murder in her apartment, detective Kenda focuses his investigation on her activities the previous night. Micki was seen dancing with a man who then paid a late night call to her door. -A Killer Always Rings Twice, Homicide Hunter (S1, E3)

Homicide Hunter Premiered ‘A Killer Always Rings Twice’ on ID: Lt. Joe Kenda Hunts for Serial Rapist & Killer Before He Strikes Again (November 8, 2011)

Secret Life (Season 1, Episode 5):

After Lourdes Riddle in found strangled to death in the trunk of her car, homicide detective Joe Kenda follows the trail through a twisting maze of military and cultural secrets. Just what was Lourdes doing behind her husband’s back? -Secret Life, Homicide Hunter (S1, E5)

Homicide Hunter Premiered ‘Secret Life’ on ID: Fort Carson Soldier Strangled Lourdes Riddle to Silence Sextortion Threats (November 22, 2011)

I Now Pronounce You Dead (Season 2, Episode 1):

Mother of three Dianne Hood is shot to death by a masked gunman on her way home from a Lupus support meeting. Police initially assume it’s a robbery, but Lt. Joe Kenda uncovers a sordid web of lust and greed, revealing a killer no one ever expected. -I Now Pronounce You Dead, Homicide Hunter (S2, E1)

Homicide Hunter Premiered ‘I Now Pronounce You Dead’ on ID: Jennifer Reali Killed Lover’s Wife Dianne Hood in Colorado Springs (October 2, 2012)

A Gathering of Evil (Season 2, Episode 2):

Teen runaway Maggie Fetty is found strangled to death on a mountain road. An anonymous tipster blames Maggie’s best friend, but she accuses a mental patient with multiple personalities. Kenda must turn the suspects against each other to learn the truth. -A Gathering of Evil, Homicide Hunter (S2, E2)

Homicide Hunter Premiered ‘A Gathering of Evil’ on ID: Homeless Teen Maggie Fetty Found Murdered in Colorado Springs (October 9, 2012)

The Spy Who Killed Me (Season 2, Episode 4):

Housewife Elsie Jennes is found dead in the basement of her burning home. Lt Joe Kenda has no leads until Elsie’s son, William, turns up in a police station over 50 miles away, equipped with a suitcase, a pet yellow labrador, and a bizarre story to tell. -The Spy Who Killed Me, Homicide Hunter (S2, E4)

Homicide Hunter Premiered ‘The Spy Who Killed Me’ on ID: William Jennes II Shot & Killed Wife Elspeth ‘Elsie’ Jennes Over Finances (October 30, 2012)

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Homicide Hunter Premiered ‘The Line Goes Dead’ on ID: Army Veteran Murdered Estranged Wife’s Boyfriend Danny Richmond (November 30, 2016)

When the severed head of a wife and mother is found, Lt. Joe Kenda uses forensics and interrogation to find both her body and her killer. Then… a young man’s murder looks like a robbery gone wrong until Kenda learns the odd reason he’s living there. -The Line Goes Dead, Homicide Hunter (S6,E13)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
The Line Goes Dead | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (S6,E13)
The Line Goes Dead | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (website)
The Line Goes Dead | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
The Line Goes Dead | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Hulu)
Army Veteran James Neal Broke Into Estranged Wife’s Colorado Springs Home & Fatally Shot Danny Richmond; Sentenced to 45 Years in Prison (July 9, 1996)
Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat Death at Fort Carson, Colorado (US Army)

Homicide Hunter Premiered ‘The Line Goes Dead’ on ID: Army Spouse Diane Pelkey Reported Missing in Colorado, Found Dead (November 30, 2016)

When the severed head of a wife and mother is found, Lt. Joe Kenda uses forensics and interrogation to find both her body and her killer. Then… a young man’s murder looks like a robbery gone wrong until Kenda learns the odd reason he’s living there. -The Line Goes Dead, Homicide Hunter (S6,E13)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
The Line Goes Dead | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (S6,E13)
The Line Goes Dead | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (website)
The Line Goes Dead | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
The Line Goes Dead | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Hulu)
Army Spouse Diane Pelkey Reported Missing; Fort Carson Soldier Michael Pelkey Convicted of Murder at Court Martial, Sentenced to Life in Prison (October 8, 1993)
Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat Death at Fort Carson, Colorado (US Army)

Army Veteran James Neal Broke Into Estranged Wife’s Colorado Springs Home & Fatally Shot Danny Richmond; Sentenced to 45 Years in Prison (July 9, 1996)

James Neal

James Neal, U.S. Army Veteran

On July 9th, 1996, 911 received a phone call from a distressed man who reported a burglar was in his apartment. And then the operator hears a bang and the line goes dead. Homicide detective, Lt. Joe Kenda, of the Colorado Springs Police Department was informed shots were fired after what appeared to be a burglary gone wrong. He was informed Danny Richmond, 34, was dead and his roommate Savannah Neal, 50, was present at the time of the shooting. The pair had met at work. Danny was the 911 caller; he reported someone broke into the apartment before he was shot. Kenda has learned from experience that burglars usually pick locks but in this case, whoever this person was, shot at the front door multiple times. This person had a motive to kill the person behind the door. Danny was shot in the central chest and he was shot in excess of 48 inches away. They didn’t find any casings in the room.Kenda observed that Danny was laying in his bed and eating when he was shot.

Kenda noticed Danny’s wedding ring and assumed he was married so he thought maybe Savannah was letting him stay at her apartment because he was having troubles. Did Danny’s estrange wife have something to do with this? Kenda wondered why Savannah was not dead? Why was she not harmed? Kenda deduced the shooter was after one person: Danny Richmond. The police eventually found a 357 Magnum casing at the threshold of the door. It appeared this person reloaded the gun quickly and Kenda thought it very likely could be someone military because Fort Carson is in Colorado Springs. Kenda set out to learn more about Danny. Danny was described by his co-workers as great. One co-worker shared that Danny met Savannah Neal at work; she acted as his mentor. Kenda also learned that Danny was not really married but he wore a wedding ring to show his commitment to Savannah. Kenda learned they were in a personal relationship and were romantically involved.

Kenda was looking for a third person now that he learned about the relationship between Danny and Savannah. A co-worker shared that Savannah was married for 25 years to James Neal but they were having problems so she moved out. The co-worker confirmed that James was in the Army but now worked as a security guard. Kenda then went to the hospital to question Savannah. She admitted things were bad with James and when he found out about her seeing Danny, he was angry. She alleged that he stalked her and Danny; he made threats; and he followed her all over the city. She said the night of the shooting she fixed Danny something to eat and served him in bed. They both heard loud pounding at the door so she went towards the door as it exploded open. She observed that James had a gun in his hand and went straight to the bedroom and shot Danny then he just left. The whole thing happened in the course of 30 seconds.

Kenda needed to find James Neal. He put out an all points bulletin (APB) asking officers to be on the look out and aware that he was armed and dangerous. Minutes later a police officer spotted the gray Camry and pulled him over. James didn’t move so the police officer approached him unsure of what he may do. The officer went up to the driver side of the car and observed that James had blood on him near his shoulder and stomach; next to him was a 357 Magnum revolver. James was telling the officer that he wanted to die and was speaking coherently. He admitted to shooting himself as the officer pulled him over. One officer explained that he shot himself in those locations most likely because he lost his courage to commit suicide. James Neal admitted to Kenda that he wanted to die and he shot his wife’s boyfriend. James Neal was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to forty-five years in prison. Some relationships can turn to nightmare scenarios and this is one of them.

Investigation Discovery:

When the severed head of a wife and mother is found, Lt. Joe Kenda uses forensics and interrogation to find both her body and her killer. Then… a young man’s murder looks like a robbery gone wrong until Kenda learns the odd reason he’s living there. -The Line Goes Dead, Homicide Hunter (S6,E13)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
The Line Goes Dead | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (S6,E13)
The Line Goes Dead | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (website)
The Line Goes Dead | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
The Line Goes Dead | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Hulu)
Homicide Hunter Premiered ‘The Line Goes Dead’ on ID: Army Veteran Murdered Estranged Wife’s Boyfriend Danny Richmond (November 30, 2016)
Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat Death at Fort Carson, Colorado (US Army)

Army Spouse Diane Pelkey Reported Missing; Fort Carson Soldier Michael Pelkey Convicted of Murder at Court Martial, Sentenced to Life in Prison (October 8, 1993)

When the severed head of a wife and mother is found, Lt. Joe Kenda uses forensics and interrogation to find both her body and her killer. Then… a young man’s murder looks like a robbery gone wrong until Kenda learns the odd reason he’s living there. -The Line Goes Dead, Homicide Hunter (S6,E13)

On October 16, 1993, a mother was home with her son cooking supper. She went outside to call her dog Shadow to return home. When the dog returned, he had something large in his mouth. Danielle and her son realized that the dog had a human skull in it’s mouth. Lt. Joe Kenda of the Colorado Spring Police Department was grocery shopping when he got the call. He left his grocery shopping cart as is and headed to the scene. When Kenda arrived on the scene, the medical examiner was observing the skull. The medical examiner observed another animal got to the skull before the dog did and the time of death was within the last couple of weeks. The skull appeared to be a female with no obvious signs of bullet wounds or trauma. But they didn’t have the rest of the body to determine the official cause of death. Lt. Joe Kenda decided to start with the missing persons reports first.

Kenda also wanted to find the rest of the remains. Unfortunately, it was dark outside so they decided to resume the search the next day in during the daylight hours. The police used cadaver dogs to find the rest of the body. Cadaver dogs are trained to notify their handler when they make a hit. Kenda knew this would be a daunting task because El Paso County is the size of Rhode Island. An hour into the search, the K9 officer got a hit. They found a few more human bones; some still had flesh attached and some had teeth marks on them. Kenda theorized maybe she was a hiker out for a walk one day and got attacked by a bear. Now Joe Kenda needed to identify the dead female. They used dental records to determine if the dead woman’s teeth matched any dental records on file. On the third missing woman’s dental records, they finally found a match. Diane Pelkey, 36, was reported missing one week prior by her husband Michael Pelkey.

Michael Pelkey paid for a full page ad in the newspaper looking for Diane Pelkey. Police learned Michael was a 16 year veteran in the US Army and lived off post in Colorado Springs with his wife. Kenda now had the unfortunate task of informing Michael Pelkey of his wife’s death. He told him positive identification was made through dental records. Michael Pelkey was overcome with grief. They had been together for over 15 years. They had a son and she was four months pregnant.  Michael claims the last time he saw Diane they were out at dinner and then got in an argument. He said she walked away from him and he had not seen her since. Kenda deduced she would have had to walk ten miles to get home. Kenda decided she was not killed by a bear, she was killed by a human. They didn’t know if maybe someone picked her up hitchhiking and killed her. Michael Pelkey claimed he didn’t look for his wife because he had to go home and take care of their five year old son.

As Kenda was reviewing the missing persons report for Diane Pelkey, he noticed one of the officers put JDLR (Just Doesn’t Look Right) on the bottom of the report. This is usually done when an officer feels something isn’t right or the person making the report was suspicious. Kenda spoke with the officer who took the report. They both decided the missing persons report was suspicious because Michael didn’t say anything about their child, Diane’s pregnancy, or that they got in an argument that same night. Kenda explained that usually if someone thinks something happen to a loved one, they won’t leave him alone. Kenda ran Michael Pelkey’s name through the data base and found there was a history of domestic violence, restraining orders in the past, and the couple had filed for a divorce. Kenda believed Michael Pelkey may have killed his wife but he wasn’t sure he had the authority to pursue the case.

Diane Pelkey’s remains were found in El Paso County, Colorado so the case may be out of Kenda’s jurisdiction. He pressed the sheriff’s office to put the squeeze on Michael Pelkey. They brought him into the sheriff’s department and started questioning him. They presented all the evidence they had to Pelkey and he became overwhelmed. Michael broke during the interrogation and admitted to killing his wife on October 8, 1993. He claimed they were in the car and he wanted to do some fishing. They started arguing; he accused her of being unfaithful, she accused him of being unfaithful. He said she wanted out of the vehicle to get some space from him and that didn’t sit well with him. Michael claims he snapped and started strangling Diane. Michael tried to claim that it was an accident. Kenda thought this was not an accident because it takes two to three minutes to strangle someone to death.

Michael Pelkey then told detectives he panicked after strangling Diane and decided to drive to a rural area in the Rocky Mountain foothills to dispose of her body. He put a seatbelt on her and drove as if she was simply a passenger in his car. He drove to a ravine near the highway and left her in an area where he didn’t think anyone would find her. Afterwards, he filed a missing persons report and took out an ad in the local paper to deflect suspicion from himself. Michael Pelkey probably thought he would get away with murdering her wife. But his plan unraveled and he was arrested for murder. The District Attorney allowed the Fort Carson Army leadership to court martial him despite the fact that the crime occurred in El Paso County. Michael Pelkey was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to life. He is serving his sentence at Fort Leavenworth, a military penitentiary in Kansas.

You are held to a higher standard in the United States military. You will not behave in this way and if you do, you will be one sorry son of a bitch. Sgt. Pelkey found that out the hard way. -Lt. Joe Kenda

Source: The Line Goes Dead, Homicide Hunter, Investigation Discovery

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $3.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict. Download the ID Go app or purchase ID True Crime Files & binge away.

Related Links:
Obituary: Diane Lee Armendariz Pelkey
Military Convicts Do Time But Also Draw Paychecks
United States v. Michael Pelkey, US Army (1997)
The Line Goes Dead | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (S6,E13)
The Line Goes Dead | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (website)
The Line Goes Dead | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Amazon)
The Line Goes Dead | Homicide Hunter | Investigation Discovery (Hulu)
Homicide Hunter Premiered ‘The Line Goes Dead’ on ID: Army Spouse Diane Pelkey Reported Missing in Colorado, Found Dead (November 30, 2016)
Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat Death at Fort Carson, Colorado (US Army)
What the DoD Doesn’t Want You to Know: 50 Shocking Military Homicides in the Last 30 Years (March 23, 2018)
30 Domestic Abuse Cases in the Military That Ended in the Murder of Female Partners