Missing person of four years found dead at her home in Grand Junction

Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 6:25 PM MDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Prosecutors unveil their case against a former Grand Junction man, Richard Vandervelde, accused of murdering his mother, Sylvia Frens.

The neighborhood is in disbelief. They learned the woman they thought was missing for four years never really left home.

In 2018 Frens’ daughter reported her missing.

Court documents state detectives went to Frens’ home and described a foul odor in the bedroom and a brown stain that covered most of the floor. The stain was tested for blood, but the documents state test came back negative.

Investigators said Vandervelde used her debit cards and took over $10,000 in cash from her account.

The following month prosecutors claim Vandervelde lied about his identity when pulled over in Missouri. The Grand Junction Police Department detectives traveled to Missouri and asked him about his mother’s disappearance. He stated she went to California with a friend.

Three years passed, and no sign of Frens.

Then on April 26, 2022, an affidavit said the current owner of Frens’ house called to report a trash bag inside a manhole.

Court records describe the hole as six feet deep. Detectives thought they saw an animal leg and later human remains. DNA tests confirmed they’d finally found Frens; an autopsy said she died from blows to the head.

Police found Vandervelde in Florida. He’s now in Mesa County, charged with first-degree murder.

Vandervelde is on a $1 million bond. He’ll be in court on June 21.

Copyright 2022 KKCO. All rights reserved.