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Teen held on suspicion of first-degree murder in death of Bayfield Speedway clerk

Colorado Bureau of Investigation says store robbery a possible motive
A memorial for Jadah Willmett, 21, in front of the Speedway convenience store, at 650 S. Buck Highway (County Road 521), in Bayfield. Willmett was killed while working at the store early Monday. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

A 17-year-old boy is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder in connection with the death of a woman who was stabbed and killed while working early Monday at the Speedway gas station in Bayfield.

The teenager is being held in a juvenile detention center in Mesa County, according to a news release issued by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. A preliminary investigation indicates the stabbing stemmed from a possible robbery at the store.

“It’s believed the juvenile acted alone and that there is no ongoing threat to the community,” said the CBI news release.

A panic alarm was set off at 1:31 a.m. Monday at the Speedway Gas Station and convenience store at 650 S. Buck Highway, said Bayfield Marshal Joseph McIntyre in an interview Monday.

Sep 23, 2021
Bayfield Speedway clerk stabbed, killed early Monday

Jadah Willmett, 21, who lived near Bayfield, was pronounced dead at the scene by responding medical crews. She was the only employee on duty at the time.

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

An investigation later linked the boy’s involvement with Willmett’s death, according to the CBI news release.

The Bayfield Marshal’s Office, Colorado State Patrol, CBI and La Plata County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene. The Bayfield Marshal’s Office requested the CBI lead the investigation.

Efforts to reach the 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office about official charges were not immediately successful Friday.

According to an obituary, Willmett was born in Denver but grew up in Durango and attended the Durango school system. She worked different service-related jobs and had an uncanny ability to make friends. She was active in the choir and played the guitar.

“She touched so many lives as her kind demeanor always comforted the patrons at her work places,” the obituary reads. “She always put others’ needs before her own. Her friends grew in number by every encounter.”

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 Tuesday. “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.”

The Bayfield community held a silent candlelight vigil Wednesday to mourn Willmett’s death. A GoFundMe set up to raise money for funeral costs has raised $8,159 this week.

Grief and counseling services are available through community resources such as the Grief Center of Southwest Colorado, Axis Health System and Colorado Crisis Services at (844) 493-8255.

smullane@durangoherald.com

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