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Harold Henthorn pushed his wife off a Colorado mountain.

Harold Henthorn Pushed his Wife off a Colorado Mountain in 2012

by Ricardo Walter

Investigators found unsettling connections between Harold Henthorn’s first wife Lynn’s “accidental” death and his wife Toni’s murder after he was apprehended for it in 2012.
Outsiders might have thought that Harold Henthorn and his wife Toni had the perfect union. Harold preferred to boast about his work as a fundraiser for charities like churches and hospitals, while Toni was a successful ophthalmologist. They moved to Denver, Colorado shortly after being married in 2000 so they could enjoy the mountain vistas. In 2005, they had a lovely daughter.

Outsiders might have thought that Harold Henthorn and his wife Toni had the perfect union. Harold preferred to boast about his work as a fundraiser for charities like churches and hospitals, while Toni was a successful ophthalmologist. They moved to Denver, Colorado shortly after being married in 2000 so they could enjoy the mountain vistas. In 2005, they had a lovely daughter.

Harold Henthorn Pushed his Wife off a Colorado Mountain.
Harold and Toni Henthorn on their wedding day in September 2000.

But Toni was killed in 2012 when Harold pushed her down a cliff.

When Toni fell when they were hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park to commemorate their 12th wedding anniversary, Harold originally claimed that it was an accident. Detectives discovered a suspicious map in Harold’s car, which led them to conclude that his account was unreliable.

Additionally, detectives discovered that Harold Henthorn’s first wife, Lynn, had also passed away in 1995 under questionable circumstances. The “Black Widower” was convicted of killing Toni and given a life sentence, despite the fact that he continues to claim innocence.

Inside Harold And Toni Henthorn’s Marriage

According to 48 Hours, in 1999, Harold Henthorn and Dr. Toni Bertolet of Jackson, Mississippi met on a dating website called Christian Matchmakers. Henthorn claimed to have lost his wife four years earlier in a sad accident, while Bertolet had recently divorced.

After getting hitched in September 2000, the couple swiftly relocated to Denver, Colorado, where they welcomed a daughter called Haley. From the outside, their marriage appeared to be going well, but Toni’s friends and family started noting some worrying changes in her behavior.

Harold Henthorn Pushed his Wife off a Colorado Mountain.
U.S. Attorney’s OfficeToni and Harold Henthorn hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park the very day of Toni’s murder.

Barry Bertolet, her brother, recognized he could never speak to Toni in confidence. When Barry called, Harold always picked up the phone, and whenever he requested to talk with Toni or Haley, Harold just put the phone on speaker.

Tammi Abbruscato, Toni’s office manager at her ophthalmology business, said that Toni felt “uncomfortable” around Harold. He was highly domineering, she said to 48 Hours. Without first talking to Harold, [Toni] was unable to schedule anything outside of her regular schedule.

But in 2011, Toni sustained a significant injury and didn’t even tell it to her mother, Yvonne, until “far later,” which caused the Bertolet family particular concern.

According to Westword, Harold asked Toni to come up to the porch and assist him with something while they were working on some construction at their mountain cottage. A large beam fell off of the porch as Toni was walking underneath it, striking her in the neck and breaking her vertebrae.

When Toni later told her mother about the incident, she claimed that while she was headed in Harold’s direction, she noticed something on the ground and knelt down to pick it up. The beam would have killed me, Toni claimed at the time, if I hadn’t bowed down once I stepped outside.

After Toni passed away a year later, her family started to question whether the beam incident had actually been an accident.

Toni Henthorn’s Tragic, “Accidental” Death

To commemorate their 12th wedding anniversary in September 2012, Harold Henthorn chose to lead Toni on a hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. Given that 50-year-old Toni had a damaged knee and rarely went on strenuous excursions, it was a strange decision.

However, Harold seems adamant about taking Toni to the park. Even two weeks before their anniversary, he admitted to a friend that he had “taken six different walks” in Rocky Mountain National Park to find the ideal trail, and that he had “planned every minute of their trip.”

Harold Henthorn Pushed his Wife off a Colorado Mountain.
The spot from which Toni Henthorn fell 140 feet to her death.

The couple started their ascent of Deer Mountain on September 29, 2012. They made a two-mile hike while taking pictures.

Harold Henthorn texted Barry Bertolet later that day, saying, “Barry… Urgent… Toni was hurt at Estes Park… Drop from a rock. A little while afterwards, she received another text that simply said, “She’s gone.”

Toni had dropped 140 feet from the Deer Mountain cliff. Her family was inconsolable. How did this come about?

Barry claims that Harold initially informed him that Toni couldn’t keep up on the hike. He claimed that when he turned around and noticed that she was no longer behind him, he began looking for her and found her body at the base of a cliff.

Then, Harold’s narrative shifted. He said that while looking down to read a text message he received, Toni collapsed, obscuring his view of what actually transpired. Harold then claimed that Toni had unintentionally stepped backward off the cliff while taking a picture of him.

Furthermore, according to a fourth version of the tale, Toni collapsed when Harold was allegedly monitoring Toni’s cell phone for calls from her workplace. However, according to Toni’s coworkers, her phone was present the entire time and Harold had picked it up two days after Toni had away.

Investigators started looking into Toni’s “accidental” death when Harold Henthorn’s inconsistent account aroused doubts.

Harold Henthorn’s wife’s murder is being investigated.

According to PEOPLE, authorities found a strange map in Harold Henthorn’s car just a few days after Toni’s death.

The Deer Mountain trail that Harold and Toni had traveled on that tragic day was highlighted in pink on a map of Rocky Mountain National Park. On its own, this didn’t seem all that strange; perhaps Harold had just been indicating the route he had chosen for their journey.

However, there was also a “X” written close to the location where Toni had died from her injuries.

Harold Henthorn Pushed his Wife off a Colorado Mountain.
Toni Henthorn, 50, just before she was pushed off of Deer Mountain by her husband, Harold.

According to reports, when investigators presented Harold with the map, he was “at a loss for words.” Then he said that it was a map he had drawn for his nephew rather than for the anniversary trip. Police, however, didn’t believe what he was saying.

Investigators were also discovering more about Sandra “Lynn” Rishell, Harold Henthorn’s first wife, who had died. Harold and Lynn were traveling in Douglas County, Colorado on May 6, 1995, when Harold’s Jeep developed a flat tire.

At the time, Harold told authorities that Lynn had been assisting him in changing the tire when she dropped a lug nut and had to crawl under the car to find it. The Jeep suddenly dropped off its jack as she was stooping, crushing Lynn to death.

The family of Lynn was immediately wary. Because of her arthritis, they said Lynn wouldn’t have attempted to stoop down for the lug nut. They also mentioned how cautious she was and that she knew better than to crawl under a car. Furthermore, the road was made of gravel, thus the lug nut shouldn’t have been able to travel as deep beneath the Jeep as Harold reported.

However, Lynn’s passing was determined to be an accident. Harold received the proceeds from her life insurance policy and relied on it to support himself for several years. According to the police, Harold never even had a job working for charitable organizations. When Toni passed away, he had been unemployed for twenty years.

In light of the evidence presented, a jury found Harold guilty of killing Toni Bertolet Henthorn. Toni was a remarkable woman, Harold said just before he was given a life sentence. I had nothing but affection for her. No one, including Toni, was killed by me.

The family of Toni is not persuaded. I believe Harold Henthorn pushed my sister off that mountain, Barry Bertolet subsequently remarked.


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