Real Name: David Thomas Chase
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Evergreen, Colorado
Date: June 6, 1995
Details: Forty-two-year-old David Chase was a Colorado cabinet maker, married to Judi Amber. The two had lived in Evergreen for eighteen months. They had two foster children who they hoped to adopt. On June 6, 1995, he was scheduled to work with their neighbor, a local handyman named Matt Orahoske. They had to finish a roofing job and clear brush from the local elk's club. By noon, the job was done. The two stopped for lunch and then went to a local bank where David cashed a check for $1800. The two then went to a local bar. David never returned home.
The next morning, when David had still not come back, Judi went to Matt's home. He claimed that he had left David at the bar. Later that morning, however, Matt's girlfriend called Judi. She said that when she asked Matt about David, he claimed that David had "gone swimming in the river". This did not make sense to Judi because the river was snow-covered and David would have known better than to swim in it.
The Bear Creek River runs right next to the bar where David was last seen. When police questioned Matt, he told them the same story that he told his girlfriend. He said that they had been drinking most of the day. He claimed that when they unloaded the brush into the river, David decided to jump in. He told Matt to "pick him up in Morrison". Matt claimed that he never saw David again.
Six weeks later, David's body was found in the river, three miles downstream. An autopsy determined that he had drowned. However, it also showed that he was not drunk at the time of death. It also showed that his neck was broken and that there were unusual cuts on both of his legs. There was evidence that his clothes were ripped from his body. Only his shoes and socks were on his body, along with parts of his pant leg. Judi believes that someone cut his pants off because he always tucked them tightly into his shoes.
Police decided to question Matt again. He then changed two important details in his story. In his new version, he claimed that they left the bar together and drove down the street to dump the brush into the river. He also claimed that David had fallen into the river instead of jumped. Despite being less than fifty feet from the fire station, Matt never went to get help. Judi later learned from Matt's girlfriend that she had found $800 in cash in the glove compartment of his car.
Private detective Phil Harris believes David's drowning death was no accident and that he was murdered. One night, Phil allegedly heard a voice that said "My name is David Chase. I was murdered. Go buy the Sunday paper." He got the paper and found an article about David's death. Phil met with David's wife Judi in hopes of solving the case. She was skeptical until he began talking about things that only she and David would have known. Phil agreed to work on the case until it was solved.
Phil claimed that he began hearing David's voice on a regular basis. He claimed that the voice gave him details about the night of David's death. The voice said that Matt convinced David to cash his check and keep the money in his pocket. He suggested that David could use the money to buy a truck from him. As they left the bar, David told him that he was having second thoughts about buying the truck. This caused an argument that led to David being beaten and thrown into the water.
According to Phil, the voice said that Matt had an accomplice who helped him get rid of the body and the bloody clothes. The accomplice used a knife to cut off the clothes, which caused the marks on David's legs. Phil also took Judi to a reservoir where the murder weapon and clothes were apparently thrown. Tragically, Phil died of a heart attack before he could solve the case. Judi still hopes that her husband's case can be resolved.
Suspects: Matt Orahoske, an associate of Chase, is a suspect in his murder and was the last person seen with him before his death. According to Phil, Matt was the killer and he had an accomplice. He also claimed that there was a witness to the crime. This is unconfirmed.
Extra Notes: This segment originally ran on the November 1, 1996 episode.
Matt Orahoske declined to be interviewed for the story. Sadly, Phil Harris passed away before he could be interviewed.
An alternate version of this case claims Harris had a psychic vision pointing him to Chase's ghost, but this is unconfirmed.
Results: Unresolved. Don Olin, a homicide investigator assigned to David's case concluded that he had been murdered. He also requested an arrest warrant for Matt Orahoske, charging him with criminally negligent homicide. However, the D.A.'s office declined to prosecute, deciding to continue the investigation instead; no charges were ever filed.
Recently, Judi has claimed that there is a connection between David's death and the custody case of their foster children. His death also allegedly has ties to a child trafficking organization. She claimed that Phil and other private investigators had found this information after talking with witnesses. However, there is nothing to confirm these claims and the case remains unsolved.
- David Chase on Unsolved.com
- Justice Cannot Sleep Forever
- Judi Chase - Earth Harmony Foundation
- Judi Chase's Amber Alert - What Then Must We Do
- Soul Agreements - Judi Chase
- David Chase at Find a Grave