News 5 Investigates

Jul 15, 2014 6:46 PM by Eric Ross

News 5 Investigates: Wanted Fremont County man speaks to News 5 before surrendering

When Michael Folsom saw his mugshot featured in a recent broadcast on News 5, he called our station wanting to tell his side of the story.

According to the Fremont County Sheriff's Office, Folsom was released from jail after asking to attend his ex-wife, Mandy's funeral. Instead, authorities say he left town.

Folsom tells a slightly different story.

Folsom was currently serving time for harassment and drug charges at the Fremont County Detention Center in Canon City during the time of the murders.

Folsom said he asked Judge David Thorson and Assistant District Attorney Kathy Eberling for permission to attend the funeral.

The DA's Office considered his request and ultimately released Folsom. However, he alleges he was not given permission to attend the funeral and that charges were dropped.

He was released from jail March 14, 2014, and according to Folsom, was asked to "leave" town. He said he went to Oregon.

In July, the Fremont County Sheriff's Office posted a "wanted" alert for Folsom on their facebook page. Folsom's picture was also posted in the lobby of the sheriff's office.

According to Canon City police, Folsom had two active warrants for his arrest pertaining to fines for a contempt of court and harassment charge.

The minor offenses carried a heavy weight over Folsom's shoulder. When he found out he was on the Fremont County Sheriff's Office "most wanted" list, he decided it was best to turn himself in.

"I found myself looking over my shoulder quite a bit," Folsom said. "It's not a great feeling. I really don't like seeing my picture up everywhere."

Since Folsom had been in Oregon, police had no power to arrest him and extradite him back to Colorado because he was facing misdemeanor fines. Folsom had hoped to start a new life and get a fresh start, but ran into obstacles.

"Life is already hard enough as it is with everything that's happened so having my picture up everywhere was just gas on the fire," he said.

Folsom now hopes that by turning himself in, he'll be able to get the fresh start he wanted after he's released. He says his family is here in Fremont County and wants to be near them.

"I'm going to look for a regular job and fit into society but it may be difficult finding a job because my picture has been hanging everywhere," Folsom said. "I'm going to try."

We asked how common it is for someone to be granted permission to leave jail to attend a funeral. The DA's Office tells us it's really on a case by case basis and dependent upon the charges.

Assistant DA Kathy Eberling has retired and has not returned our calls for comment.

Some question whether Folsom's request to be released to attend a funeral was just a ploy to skip town, though Folsom denies that.

Folsom's ex-wife, Mandy, and her two children were killed inside their Canon City home earlier this year by Mandy's estranged boyfriend, Jaacob Van Winkle. Van Winkle confessed to the crimes and will serve a life sentence behind bars. 



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