Suspect Identified in Four Cold Case Killings, 40 Years Later

Joe Michael Ervin took his own life in 1981 after he was accused in a fifth homicide, the fatal shooting of a police officer

Cold Case File

Authorities identified a man Friday who they say killed four women in the Denver, Colorado area four decades ago after a technological breakthrough helped solve a series of cold cases that had long eluded investigators.

The man, Joseph Michael Ervin, 30, died by suicide in jail in 1981 after he was accused of killing a police officer in suburban Denver.

Denver Police Department Cmdr. Matt Clark identified the four women Friday as Madeleine Livaudais, 33; Dolores Barajas, 53; Gwendolyn Harris, 27; and Antoinette Parks, 17.

The slayings occurred between December 1978 and January 1981. Three of the women were killed in Denver. The fourth was found in a field just east of Denver, in Adams County, Clark said.

Investigators did not initially believe that the killings of the four other women were linked, Clark said. But after DNA evidence collected from two of the slayings connected them in 2013, investigators later linked the same DNA to the other two cold cases, he said.

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