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Mesa County Cold Case: 1990 Murder of Phlisia Marie Bunting Still Unsolved

Philisia Buntin Cold Case
colorado.gov

A 1990 murder in Mesa County is one of 30 Colorado Bureau of Investigation cold cases that remain open and unsolved in the state of Colorado.

According to  Unresolved Homicides, 16-year-old Phlisia Marie Bunting left her home in Denver on a road trip in July of 1990. She would never return.

She was accompanied on the trip by three male friends Maurice Duerson, Wayne Kirk, and Wayne Irish. On July 20, her body was found in the water at Island Acres State Recreation area east of Grand Junction. She was found face down with a rock on the side of her head.

Island Acres State Park Colorado
Google Street View

The three men who accompanied Phlisia were all interviewed by the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department resulting in the arrest of Mr. Duerson. He was later released and the crime remains unsolved. In 2006, Duerson was sentenced to three years in prison on an unrelated burglary charge.

Phlisia’s mother Carrelyn Bunting told the Denver Post she believes the three male teens know what happened to her daughter but says they gave conflicting accounts of what happened to authorities.

Anyone that may have information about the case is asked to contact the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department.

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