Identities released in murder-suicide


The identities of the two people involved in a murder-suicide that was discovered Wednesday have been released.

Archuleta County Coroner Dan Keuning stated Friday that the victim in the incident is Chersti Berdahl Spitler, 36, of Pagosa Springs. The other individual involved was Michael Spitler, 30, also of Pagosa Springs.

Keuning stated that Berdahl Spitler died of a gunshot, while Spitler died of a self-inflicted gunshot.

While the pair were pronounced dead on Wednesday, Keuning stated Friday the time of death is approximately three weeks ago.

A welfare check conducted by Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) Wednesday revealed the murder-suicide in the Hatcher Lake area.

“On March 14, yesterday, the sheriff’s department was called to do a welfare check on two individuals who lived in the Hatcher area due to not having been seen in several weeks,” said Undersheriff Tonya Hamilton on Thursday.

Hamilton explained that permission was granted to enter the residence from the owner, and upon entering, ACSO personnel discovered two bodies in a bedroom on the north side of the house.

Keuning was notified and death was pronounced at 5:40 p.m. on March 14, Hamilton reported.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was notified, Hamilton explained, and a CBI agent who was in town did a preliminary walk-through with ACSO personnel.

A crime scene team from CBI arrived Thursday to collect evidence and photographs and give the ACSO another set of eyes on the scene, she noted.

It was determined late Thursday afternoon that Spitler had shot Berdahl Spitler before shooting himself.

“There was a note left on scene and some journal writings that helped lend credibility to our findings,” Hamilton said.

No missing persons report had been filed on either individual, and the last known contact that the ACSO could find was Feb. 25, Hamilton explained.