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GJPD talks about missing woman of four years found dead in a manhole at her home

Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 5:42 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - A murder of an 82-year-old woman sent shock waves through the town of Grand Junction.

The quiet neighborhood was stunned when one of their neighbors discovered human remains in his yard—the human remains of Sylvia Frens, who was reported missing in 2018.

Frens’ son, Richard Vandervelde, is accused of the grizzly murder of his mother.

One neighbor who was friends with Frens said she couldn’t believe she was only feet away from them all this time.

Detectives explained in the initial investigation when they obtained a search warrant; there was no evidence of a manhole.

“That time in 2018, as it was kind of noted in arrest affidavit... some concreate has been over the top of the manhole and then covered with like river rock,” said Detective Zac McCullough. “So, when I was looking at the photographs from 2018 compared to what it looked like now. In 2022, when it was discovered. I believe over time, some of those rocks were kicked around and eventually exposed to this piece of concrete. I think it was pretty well-hidden in the property.”

Detectives added the search for Frens was not an easy one. It required the input of multiple agencies and years of intensive investigation, but they are happy they can provide Frens’ family with some answers.

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