Wyoming triple homicide suspects to appear in court Tuesday

2013-03-04T14:24:00Z 2014-08-25T15:44:18Z Wyoming triple homicide suspects to appear in court TuesdayThe Associated Press The Associated Press

Two men arrested over the weekend in connection with a triple homicide in Clark, Wyo., were scheduled to make their initial court appearances Tuesday.

Park County Attorney Bryan Skoric's office said that Stephen Hammer, 19, and Tanner Vanpelt, 18, both of Cody, will appear in Park County Circuit Court at 9 a.m. on charges related to the slayings of 40-year-old Ildiko Freitas and her parents, Janos Volgyesi, 69, and Hildegard Volgyesi, 70.

The charges are expected to be filed late Tuesday or early Wednesday before the start of court. Skoric's office did not detail what the charges will be, but Sheriff Scott Steward said in a statement Sunday that Hammer and Vanpelt will "be formally charged for the murders and other crimes on Tuesday."

A neighbor found two people shot inside of the Volgyesi home Saturday in Clark, a rural community north of Cody, and authorities found a third body soon after.

Steward identified them on Sunday as the Volgyesis and Freitas.

Neighbors told authorities that they saw two people speed away from the home in two cars — one of them belonged to Freitas — shortly before the bodies were found.

Troopers from the Wyoming Highway Patrol arrested Hammer and Vanpelt without incident several miles away. They are being held at the Park County jail.

Little information has been released on a possible motive or what happened inside the home, but Steward described the killings as "nothing short of cold-blooded murder."

Agents from the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation and the Wyoming State Crime Lab continued to investigate the scene Monday.

Thomas Volgyesi, the son of the two elder victims and brother of Freitas, said Monday that he knew of no connection between the suspects and his family.

Thomas Volgyesi said his parents retired to Wyoming four years ago from southern California.

They lived in a separate house on the same property as their daughter and her husband, John, who works in the oil industry and was away for work at the time of the killings, Volgyesi said.

"They were the only family I have, and I'm left with nothing now," Volgyesi said. "To have them taken away from me like this, I'm not registering it yet."

Ildiko Freitas grew up in Bakersfield, Calif., and attended the University of Wyoming before moving to Clark with her husband six or seven years ago. Last year, the couple bought another house in Loveland, Colo., that they had been renovating and were planning to move into sometime soon, said neighbor David Mathiesen.

Vanpelt's father said Monday that his son had not been in serious trouble prior to his arrest. Robb Vanpelt said his son was not living with him and the accusation he was involved in a triple homicide was "pretty much totally out of the blue."

Tanner Vanpelt graduated in December 2011 from Cody High School, where principal Brandon Jensen recalled that the teenager wasn't involved in athletics or after-school clubs, but also never had serious discipline issues.

Hammer attended the school only a year before transferring during his freshman year, Jensen said.

Laurie Garland worked with Freitas as a registered nurse at West Park Hospital in Cody, where Freitas had trained Garland for her position there.

"She was very smart, easy to get along with and fun and great to work with," Garland said in an email to The Gazette.

During her time at the hospital, Freitas was studying toward a master's degree and worked in the emergency room and as house supervisor.

Garland said she only once met Frietas' husband, but that Freitas always indicated she enjoyed living in Clark.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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