LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. — A woman charged with first-degree murder in connection with a missing persons case dating back to 2016 is accused of pretending the victim was alive while ultimately taking possession of his personal belongings, including his home, an affidavit for her arrest says.
Cynthia Wilkinson, 57, was arrested in Highlands Ranch in early March on one count of first-degree murder, one count of felony murder and one count of theft.
Content Warning: This article includes graphic details about a killing that may be sensitive for some readers.
Wilkinson's alleged actions came to light in late 2021, when her husband, who has been in prison since 2000 for an unrelated murder, told authorities he had information about a murder that had occurred about five years earlier, the affidavit says.
He reported that Wilkinson was in a relationship with the victim, Michael Brock, who also supplied her with marijuana. Wilkinson's husband said that she told him two different versions of how Brock, who remains missing, was killed.
Wilkinson first told him that she "knowingly" gave Brock a lethal dose of narcotics but later said she and another man tied Brock down and "intentionally" injected Brock with narcotics until he died, the affidavit says.
Her husband reported that Brock's body was placed in the back of a silver Subaru, the affidavit says. He claimed that Wilkinson told him the car and remains were on a property of a friend near La Junta until they were moved because that friend complained about an odor, the document says.
From there he reported that Wilkinson brought the remains back to a home in Red Feather Lakes that belonged to Brock and placed them in a freezer. Eventually, the body was dismembered and then dissolved in acid or taxidermy fluid, the affidavit says.
Her husband claimed that Wilkinson took possession of Brock's items. Investigators were later able to verify that through records including a quitclaim deed in which Wilkinson transferred the home to her name on May 27, 2016. She eventually sold the Red Feather Lakes home in 2019 for $335,000, the affidavit says.
Two vehicles that were previously registered to Brock as late as 2015 were both transferred to Wilkinson's name on April 26, 2016, the affidavit says. Both titles used for the new registrations described the vehicles as "gifts," the affidavit says.
Wilkinson's husband said he spoke with another man while they were both in prison at the Fremont Correctional Facility. That man, identified as Charles Gabel, told him that Wilkinson "owed him" for helping dispose of Brock's remains. Her husband reported that Gabel intentionally crashed a truck that had previously belonged to Brock to help Wilkinson make an insurance claim.
Investigators spoke with Gabel who initially denied any involvement but later admitted his role after he was offered immunity.
Gabel said Wilkinson came to him while driving a black Dodge truck that had three trash bags in the back that were leaking and smelled like "death," the affidavit says. He reported that he helped "repackage" the remains which were then placed in a freezer in Brock's home in Red Feather Lakes.
He said they were there for "some time" before, he said, he removed them from the freezer and ultimately dissolved them in acid, the affidavit says. Afterward, he said, he poured the liquid down a drain in the garage of the home, according to the document.
Gabel had previously disclosed information about the crime to his attorney in 2018 but did not come forward at that time because he said he feared that Brock or Wilkinson had ties to prison gangs, the affidavit says.
Dodge truck crashed
Gabel also admitted that he had crashed the Dodge black truck to help Wilkinson with an insurance claim. Investigators found records that indicated the truck was found crashed and abandoned on Interstate 25 in Larimer County on Feb. 2, 2017.
Two days later, Wilkson told the Colorado State Patrol that she ran off the road and struck traffic barriers, which caused the damage, the affidavit says. Afterward, she reported that she walked to a motel down the road for the night, according to the document.
Wilkinson claimed she called CSP to report the collision, but no records could be found to verify that claim, the affidavit says.
Wilkinson's statements and actions
On May 29, 2016, an investigator with the Larimer County Sheriff's Office responded to a panic alarm at the Red Feather Lakes home once owned by Brock. They encountered a man who explained that the owner was not home.
That man told the investigators that Brock was "deceased," the affidavit says. The investigator then spoke on the phone with Wilkinson, who identified herself as Cynthia Brock, the affidavit says. She reported, according to the affidavit, that Brock had signed over the deed of the home to her and moved to Canada but had failed to give her the alarm code, the affidavit says.
Wilkinson reported that Brock was a "mountain man" and wanted to live off the grid, the affidavit says. Investigators said they never found any records indicating Brock had moved to Canada.
They did, however, find records indicating that Brock renewed his driver's license online in 2017, the affidavit says. Investigators noted the license was reissued with the same photo from 2013. They also found that the phone number and email listed with the renewal belonged to Wilkinson, according to the affidavit.
According to the affidavit, Wilkinson told a relative of Brock's that he had received an insurance payout of more than $330,000 after his home burned in the Cameron Peak Fire. She said she put the money in her account because Brock did not have a bank account, the affidavit says. Investigators knew that was a lie because the home suffered no damage from that fire and had been sold by Wilkinson the year before.
Wilkinson claimed she was married to Brock and had burned their marriage license. However, law enforcement never found any legal records to verify they were ever married.
According to the affidavit, Wilkinson's mother-in-law reported that Wilkinson told her she had helped get Brock out of prison and said he was going to give her $20,000. Financial records reviewed by investigators revealed 20 wire transfers between August 2015 and February 2016.
They included transactions to Wilkinson and individuals in Ghana and London that totaled roughly $22,000.
Wilkinson has an extensive criminal history which, according to the affidavit, includes several prior convictions and numerous prison stints.
- 1993 - Six year sentence in Colorado for forgery
- 2000- Five year sentence in Arkansas for theft
- 2004 - Federal prison time for fraud
- 2004 - 15 year Alabama sentence for theft
- 2004 - Four year sentence in Colorado for escape
- 2011 - Eight year sentence for theft
Colorado Department of Corrections show that on April 19, 2016 Wilkinson was fully released from parole supervision into the community.
She's due in court on June 1..
Brock's last known in-person contact with law enforcement was on Jan. 21, 2016.
At a later unknown date, a deputy went to the home and was told by a man at the home that Brock had moved to Alaska. Investigators searched public records and could find no indication that Brock moved there, the affidavit says.
Investigators conducted an exhaustive search of public records to determine if Brock was still alive and found that after Jan. 21, 2016, there were no vehicles registered in Brock's name and no utility services opened in his name.
Investigators contacted two of Brock's daughters, who both reported they hadn't seen their dad in years. One of them said he had never heard of Brock wanting to live off the grid, but admitted they were not close.
The other daughter said she attempted to call her dad around Christmas in 2019 but reported that a woman answered the phone and claimed to be his wife, the affidavit says. The woman reported that Brock was out fishing, according to the document.
His daughter called again several weeks later and the woman told her that her dad had gone into town and had left his phone at home, the affidavit says.
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