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Bayfield Speedway clerk stabbed, killed early Monday

Juvenile male arrested in connection with death of 21-year-old Jadah Willmett
Flowers for Jadah Willmett, 21, are seen in front of the Speedway convenience store, at 650 Buck Highway (County Road 521), on Tuesday in Bayfield. Willmett was killed while working at the store early Monday. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

A clerk at the Bayfield Speedway was stabbed and killed early Monday, and a male juvenile has been arrested in connection with her death.

Bayfield Marshal Joseph McIntyre said Jadah Willmett, 21, who lives near Bayfield, was pronounced dead at the scene by responding medical crews.

A panic alarm, which was set off by Willmett, was received at 1:31 a.m., McIntyre said.

No details about what led to the stabbing are being released pending an investigation, McIntyre said.

Because the suspect arrested is a male juvenile, McIntyre said no information about him will be released. He declined to release the age of the suspect.

A Colorado State Patrol trooper, who was in the area, was first at the scene. The trooper arrested the juvenile, whom he saw exiting the store, McIntyre said.

“The trooper contacted him not knowing at the time that he was the suspect,” McIntyre said. “They did just take him into custody until they could figure out what was going on.”

La Plata County Sheriff’s Office deputies also responded along with the Bayfield Marshal’s Office, which is serving as the lead agency.

Troopers initially thought more than one person might have been involved, and entered the store, where they encountered Willmett.

Upon further investigation, McIntyre said, investigators now believe the male juvenile acted alone.

Law enforcement officers brought Willmett out of the Speedway convenience store, at 650 Buck Highway (County Road 521), so medical personnel could attend to her. However, life-saving efforts were unsuccessful, McIntyre said.

Willmett was the only employee on duty at the time.

McIntyre said the Speedway is Bayfield’s only 24-hour gas station/convenience store.

A knife believed used in the incident is in the possession of the Bayfield Marshal’s Office, McIntyre said.

McIntyre said he had not yet seen the knife and could not describe it.

“We have our suspect in custody, and at this time, it does not appear that we’re looking for any other suspects that may be involved,” McIntyre said.

Bayfield Mayor Ashleigh Tarkington said she never expected to receive news of a fatal stabbing in such a small, tight-knit community as Bayfield.

“My heart is broken for everyone involved – and especially for that young woman who had her whole life ahead of her,” Tarkington said. “My thoughts go out to her family, friends, the Bayfield Marshal’s Office, first responders and all other local law enforcement that had to witness this tragedy. If there is anything that I know about this community, it is that we are really good about rallying around those that are hurting most in times of need. I don’t expect anything different after this.”

The Bayfield community plans a silent candlelight vigil at dusk Wednesday at Eagle Park in Bayfield to remember Willmett.

parmijo@durangoherald.com

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