Tulsa Officers Retrace Steps Of Colorado Fugitive Couple

Wednesday, April 2nd 2014, 6:14 pm
By: News On 6

A fugitive couple from Colorado sent some of Tulsa's fugitive squad on a chase Tuesday, ending in a murder suicide.

On Tuesday afternoon, one neighborhood street looked like a parking lot of police cars and unmarked cars. One white car was in the middle of it all, and held the bodies of that fugitive Colorado couple.

4/1/2014 Related Story: Police: Colorado Fugitive Shoots Girlfriend, Self In Midtown Tulsa

Around 3:30 p.m., police got a call that Colorado Springs fugitive Roy Hanthorn was coming to Tulsa. A swarm of unmarked cars headed to East Apache, where Sergeant Luke Sherman said Hanthorn met with an ex.

"Meeting in a civil matter to try to exchange money or something along those lines," Sherman said.

Police tried to pull him over, but Hanthorn took off starting a pursuit.

"You go off your experience, your knowledge, your perceptions, what's unfolding at the time and make a decision from that," Sherman said.

Hanthorn abandoned his car and carjacks a driver. Police say Hanthorn told the driver to get in the car with him but the driver refused, likely saving their life.

The chase ended at 31st and Utica where Hanthorn shot the woman in his passenger seat then himself. At the time, police believed she was the carjacking victim.

"Everybody there was convinced that the female in the car was this carjacking victim," Sherman said. "The sick feeling in everybody's stomach was, 'She's an unwilling participant.'"

They later discovered she was actually Hanthorn's fugitive girlfriend, Rhiannon Vantassel, also from Colorado Springs.

Police said she did time for burglary, a small rap sheet compared to Hanthorn's criminal history. Records show Hanthorn's history includes burglary, fraud, possession of dangerous drugs and domestic violence.

Just 45 minutes passed from the time officers first spotted Hanthorn, to the time he was dead.

"The loss of life is never something to consider successful, as well as a citizen being carjacked. That's not a success," Sherman said. "There's a lot of other things you look at and say it could've been worse. That's about the small amount of success I take from it."

The task force says their success is a team effort.