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Police alerted to rape find Colorado mother, two children slain

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - Police responding to the reported rape of a teenage girl found her mother and two young siblings slain inside their Colorado home, where the suspected rapist and killer was taken into custody, authorities said on Monday.

A registered sex offender believed to be the boyfriend of the slain 35-year-old was being held without bond on suspicion of taking her life, along with that of her 5-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter, police said.

They said the suspect, Jaacob Vanwinkle, 31, was also believed responsible for the rape of the teenage girl.

Canon City Police Chief Paul Schultz told reporters police received an emergency 911 call on Sunday night reporting that the girl had run to a neighbor's house for help, saying she had been sexually assaulted.

When police arrived at the girl's house in Canon City, a town of 16,000 people 90 miles south of Denver, they found the murder victims inside. Vanwinkle, who was also in the house, was arrested without incident, Schultz said.

"This is very unusual for the city. We average less than one homicide a year," said Police Sergeant Shannon Byerly. "It's especially tough because little kids are involved."

Police said they were investigating a possible motive. They did not release the names of the victims or provide other details except to say that Vanwinkle, who was listed on the Colorado sex offender registry, was scheduled to make his first court appearance later on Monday.

He faces three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of kidnapping, one count of sexual assault and another count of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Tom Brown)

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