News 5 Investigates

Jul 4, 2014 12:11 AM by Eric Ross

News 5 Investigates: Fremont County fugitive on most wanted list released from jail to attend funeral and disappears

A Fremont County judge and assistant district attorney allowed a man behind bars to attend his ex-wife's funeral with the understanding he'd take care of his criminal charges.

Instead, authorities say Michael Thomas Folsom, 29, failed to pay fines and court costs associated with two active cases and took off.

Folsom is wanted for failing to appear on a contempt of court and harrassment charge.

Folsom's ex-wife, Mandy, was found dead inside her Canon City home along with two of her children. Jaacob Van Winkle, Mandy's estranged boyfriend confessed to the crimes and is now serving a life sentence behind bars without the possibility of parole.

Michael Folsom's criminal history isn't impeccable either. He's had numerous encounters with the law over the past few years.

In March 2014, Folsom was being held on charges of violating a protection order, theft, harassment, and drug charges in Fremont County.

While dealing with those charges, Mandy Folsom and her two children were killed. In court, Folsom asked if he could be released to attend their funeral.

"Mr. Folsom was released by the order of Judge David Thorson," Fremont County Sheriff James (Jim) Beicker said. 

Thorson and the assistant district attorney both agreed to allow Folsom out of jail.

"Any information regarding the agreement in that release will need to be obtained from the courthouse," Beicker said.

Calls for comment from District Attorney Tom LeDeoux and Assistant District Attorney Kathy Eberling were not returned Thursday.

Meanwhile, digging into Folsom's past, we learned his relationship with Mandy was rocky.

In 2013, published reports say he was arrested for violating a protection order involving Mandy.

This leaves some wondering whether the excuse of going to her funeral was just a plot to skip town.

"I think it's frustrating for the entire criminal justice system," Canon City Police Chief Paul Schultz said when asked about Folsom's disappearance.

Folsom has been added to the Fremont County Sheriff's Office "most wanted" list.

"Last information we have is that he may be in Oregon but that is unconfirmed," Schultz said.

Information pertaining to Folsom's whereabouts should be reported to Crimestoppers at 275-STOP.

If Folsom is out of state, he cannot be extradited back to Colorado because the two warrants are misdemeanor charges.

We will continue tracking this developing story and bring you any updates as they become available.



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