Real Name: David Thomas Chase
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Evergreen, Colorado
Date: June 6, 1995
Details: Forty-two-year-old David Chase was a Colorado craftsman and cabinet maker, married to Judi Amber-Chase. The two had lived in Evergreen for eighteen months. Although they had no children of their own, they were hoping to adopt two foster children who were living with them. On June 6, 1995, he was scheduled to work with their neighbor, a thirty-four-year-old local handyman named Matt Orahoske. They planned to finish a roofing job and clear brush from the local elk's club. By noon, the job was done. The two stopped for lunch and then went to a local bank where David cashed an $1800 check that was an advance for an upcoming job. The two then went to a local bar. David never returned home.
By that evening, David still had not called. Judi became concerned and sat in her rocking chair all night, waiting for him to return. The next morning, when he had still not come back, she went to Matt's home. He claimed that he had left David at the bar. Later that morning, however, Matt's girlfriend called Judi. She said that when she asked Matt about David, he claimed that David "had a raft and was going swimming in the river". This did not make sense to Judi because the river was snow-covered and David would have known better than to swim in it due to the dangers of hypothermia.
The Bear Creek River runs right next to the bar where David was last seen. Judi did not believe Matt's story, so she went to the police. When they questioned Matt, he told them virtually the same story that he told his girlfriend. He said that they had been drinking most of the day. They allegedly had a pitcher of beer with lunch, another beer at the Elk's Club, and two more pitchers at other bars. He claimed that at the last bar, they unloaded the brush into the river. Judi did not believe that David would do this because he was "fanatical" with keeping wilderness pristine. After unloading the brush, David allegedly decided to jump into the river. He told Matt to "pick him up in Morrison". Matt claimed that he never saw David again.
Six weeks later, David's body was found in the Bear Creek River, three miles downstream. An autopsy determined that his death was "consistent with drowning". However, it also showed that he was not drunk at the time of death. Furthermore, it showed that his neck was broken and that there were unusual cuts on both of his legs. There was evidence that his clothes were ripped from his body. Only his shoes and socks were on his body, along with parts of his pant leg. Judi believes that someone cut his pants off because he always tucked them tightly into his shoes.
Police decided to question Matt again. He then changed two important details in his story. In his new version, he claimed that they left the bar together and drove down the street to dump the brush into the river. He also claimed that David had fallen into the river instead of jumped. Despite being less than fifty feet from the fire station and a few yards from the bar, he never went to get help. Judi later learned from Matt's girlfriend that she had found $800 in cash in the glove compartment of his car.
Despite the inconsistencies in Matt's story, the case soon stalled, much to Judi's frustration. Then, a private detective named Phil Harris contacted her with a bizarre story. On the night of October 15, 1995, Phil fell asleep in his easy chair. A few hours later, he allegedly awoke to the sound of a disembodied voice that said: "My name is David Chase. I was murdered. I want you to investigate my murder. Go buy the Sunday paper." He got the paper and found an article about David's death. He told his wife Janet about the voice and said that he felt that he had been chosen to solve the case.
Phil met with Judi and told her that he wanted to solve the case. She was skeptical until he began talking about things that only she and David would have known, such as their life together, their love for each other, and even pet names for each other. Phil and Judi struck a rather unorthodox deal: for a nominal $1 fee, he would investigate the case until it was solved.
After the first occurrence, Phil claimed that he began hearing David's voice on a regular basis. The voice would often come to him early in the morning. Because he was a fast typist, he decided to sit by the computer each morning and type out what the voice was telling him. He claimed that the voice gave him a detailed account about the night of David's death.
The voice allegedly said that Matt convinced David to cash his check and keep the money in his pocket. He suggested that David could use the money to buy a truck from him. As they left the bar, David told him that he was having second thoughts about buying the truck. Matt claimed that David had promised the money to him, so therefore it was his. This caused an argument that led to David being beaten and struck with a blunt object, which broke his neck. According to Phil, the voice said that Matt had an accomplice who helped him get rid of the body and the bloody clothes. The accomplice used a knife to cut off the clothes, which caused the marks on David's legs. The two then dumped David's body into the river.
On June 7, 1996, Phil took Judi to a local reservoir where the murder weapon and clothes were apparently thrown. He believed that Matt had the accomplice throw the weapon and clothes into the middle of the reservoir. Tragically, Phil died of a heart attack just one week later without being able to solve the case. Judi still hopes that her husband's case can be resolved and that someone can come forward to corroborate Phil's claims.
Suspects: Matt Orahoske, a neighbor and co-worker of David's, is a suspect in his murder and was the last person seen with him before his death. He allegedly told two different stories about what happened to David that night. However, he has never been charged in the case.
According to the voice that came to Phil, Matt was the killer and he had an accomplice. He also claimed that there was a witness to the crime. This is unconfirmed.
Extra Notes: This segment originally ran on the November 1, 1996 episode.
Matt Orahoske declined to be interviewed for the story. Sadly, Phil Harris passed away before he could be interviewed.
Results: Unresolved. Don Olin, a homicide investigator assigned to David's case concluded that he had been murdered. He also requested an arrest warrant for Matt Orahoske, charging him with criminally negligent homicide. However, the D.A.'s office declined to prosecute, deciding to continue the investigation instead; no charges were ever filed.
Recently, Judi has claimed that there is a connection between David's death and the custody case of their foster children. His death also allegedly has ties to a child trafficking organization. She claimed that Phil and other private investigators had found this information after talking with witnesses. However, there is nothing to confirm these claims and the case remains unsolved.
Sadly, David's parents have since passed away.
- David Chase on Unsolved.com
- Teams halt search in creek for missing man
- Missing Evergreen man's body recovered from Bear Creek
- Justice Cannot Sleep Forever
- Judi Chase - Earth Harmony Foundation
- Judi Chase's Amber Alert - What Then Must We Do
- Soul Agreements by Judi Chase
- Obituary for David Chase
- David Chase at Find a Grave