It was a phone and social media scrub that helped lead Adams County Sheriff's detectives to the suspected killer of 19-year-old Natalie Bollinger.
She went missing on December 28 of last year from Broomfield and just a day later her body was found in the woods off Riverdale Road in Adams County. An autopsy released in January showed that she died from a gunshot wound to the head. It also said she had a near-deadly dose of heroin in her system.
Sheriff Michael McIntosh spoke to gathered media and said that the investigation took so long due to the process of scrubbing Bollinger's phone and social media profiles.
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"It takes time to go through all of that," he said. "A 19-year-old's phone, there's a lot of data there."
In her social media contacts was 22-year-old Joseph Lopez. Detectives said they believed he and Bollinger to be acquaintances. The sheriff's office said they don't believe their relationship to have been romantic, sexual or drug-related.
He was a person that had recently come into her life and didn't have any criminal history that the sheriff's office was aware of.
McIntosh refused to speculate on a motive, saying that would be for the District Attorney's Office to put together for the trial against him.
The sheriff also commended his detectives for their patience and diligence as they interviewed a lot of people who knew Bollinger. He said they applied a good bit of pressure on each person - and that everyone they spoke to was a person of interest until the investigation could clear them.
That included an older man that Bollinger had taken a restraining order out against the month before her disappearance. He posted on social media saying police were looking at the wrong person.
Lopez, who was booked into the Adams County Sheriff's Office on a charge of first-degree murder, was brought in for an interview Thursday night. McIntosh said that Lopez said something to detectives to the effect of he might know why they wanted to talk to him.
While an arrest has been made, McIntosh said that the investigation is far from over. Detectives have only just started to dig into the autopsy and the information in the report.
There are no other persons of interest in the case, law enforcement said.
"We believe that from what we currently see that we have the lone suspect in this case," McIntosh said.
A weapon has been found, authorities said, but it has yet to be linked to Bollinger's shooting death.