Cell phone locates murder site

Barbara Lawlor
Gilpin County

Jeffrey Mason Maynard, 26, was brought before the Gilpin County Court on January 3, 2018 on two counts of First Degree Murder; aggravated Robbery; two counts of Identity Theft; Motor Vehicle Theft; Theft and one Violent Crime count.

According to the Arrest Affidavit, the murder took place in a camping site off Tolland Road outside of Rollinsville in August. The body of 63-year-old John Cumby was found after Maynard was stopped for a traffic offense in Ada County, Idaho, in Cumby’s van on September 10.  

An Ada County Sheriff’s deputy saw a semi attempt to pass a van on the highway. The driver of the van slowed down and weaved from one lane to another not allowing the semi to pass. When the deputy stopped the driver, he discovered that the vehicle belonged to John Cumby. He also found that Maynard was being investigated for committing assault crimes and other misdemeanors.

Maynard told the deputy he didn’t know how he obtained the van belonging to Cumby. In a search of the van, Cumby’s wallet, credit cards and cellphone were found, along with pieces of cloth stained with blood.

Investigators learned that Cumby lived in Illinois and had been camping in Colorado and was gone longer than had been expected. On his cellphone, there was a photograph of Cumby at a campsite. Through metadata technology, investigators learned that the campsite was in Colorado. Investigators were concerned about the welfare of Cumby.

Detectives questioned Maynard about where Cumby could be. Maynard told them he was in the Rocky Mountains and they should get search dogs. Change of activity on the cellphone led investigators to believe Cumby died on August 27. After that, it was discovered that Maynard’s cell phone messages included articles on how to plead insanity, how to act insane, fake being insane; hospitals for criminally insane and sociopathic world; Asperger’s as a defense and information on how to kill a person. During an interview, Maynard said he had Asperger’s, Tourette’s and ADHD.

The Ada County Sheriff contacted the Gilpin County Sheriff asking if they were investigating any recent unattended deaths. The answer was no. The photographs of the campsite led investigators to latitude and longitude GPS coordinates, indicating an intersection of Tolland and Rollins Pass Road. The photographs were taken on August 20.

Maynard told detectives that Cumby was somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, near a campsite in a wooded area near a rushing creek. Photographs were sent to the Gilpin County Sheriff’s Office, and a GC deputy thought he recognized the campsite. There are several areas where people have been known to camp for free.

On Sept. 13, 2017, the deputies met with the county coroner, Zane Laubhan, Dog Handler Terrie Kirkpatrick and Deputy Kelly Fosier and coordinated a canine search of the area. They located a deceased person about 20 yards south of the camping area on a lightly used trail with heavy brush. He was lying on his back. Next to his body was a casino player’s card with his name on it. The card was last used on August 27. An autopsy revealed the cause of death was consistent with asphyxiation due to manual strangulation.

The last known activity on Cumby’s cellphone was on August 27, 2017, an internet search for a cannabis store in Rollinsville or Nederland.

During the next interview, Maynard asked for a deal, saying if they put him in a mental hospital he would tell them everything. On December 14, the CBI turned in a forensic laboratory report which indicated that blood on Cumby’s sweatshirt matched the DNA profile from Maynard.

He was transported from Idaho to Gilpin County on December 28, 2017 and appeared in court on December 29 when he was advised of his rights and the charges which have been filed against him. He remains in the Gilpin County Jail.

Barbara Lawlor

Barbara is a reporter for The Mountain-Ear.