Murder of Weld County resident with Meeker connection solved after 41 years

MEEKER | A 41-year old “cold case” in Weld County with a Meeker connection has been solved, thanks to DNA evidence.

Evelyn Kay Jones Day, who went by Kay, was born in Meeker to Eleanor and Jerry Jones. She graduated from Meeker High School in 1968. Eleven years later she was living in Greeley with her husband and two children and working at Aims Community College when her husband reported her missing in late November 1979.

The following day coworkers from the college located Day’s car and found her body in the back. An autopsy determined she had been sexually assaulted and strangled, and DNA evidence was collected. Leads were investigated, but fizzled out and the case went unsolved for the next 40 years.

In spring 2020, Detective Byron Kastilahn was assigned to the case and sought assistance from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to compare the DNA evidence to profiles in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). On Aug. 26, 2020, Kastilahn received word that DNA evidence from the victim matched that of James Herman Dye, 64.

Dye has a multi-state criminal history for second degree sexual assault in 1977, sexual assault on a child and attempted sexual assault in 1981, sex assault on a child in 1987, and third degree assault in 1982. Dye was a student at Aims during the time Day was employed at the college.

Dye’s name came up in a Crime Stoppers tip in 1988 as a suspect in Day’s death, but there was no follow up at the time.

Weld County Sheriff’s Office detectives contacted Dye in March in Wichita, Kansas and interviewed him, then requested a warrant for his arrest, according to an affidavit filed March 22. Dye was subsequently arrested and will be extradited to Colorado.

Longtime Meeker residents may recall the story of Kay’s mother’s death in 1973. Eleanor Doris Jones, 52, was a local bookkeeper. Recently divorced, she was killed in her home by a “jealous boyfriend” and her body hidden in a chest freezer at her home on Fourth Street. Don Hoerl was arrested in Idaho shortly after Jones’ death, was tried, convicted and sentenced to 15-30 years in the state penitentiary in 1974.