The Pagosa Springs Police Department (PSPD) has announced that Michael Moats, now deceased, was the sole perpetrator of the murder of Pagosa Springs resident and business owner Larry Fisher.
According to a press release from PSPD Detective Scott Maxwell, on Monday, the department received the results of laboratory DNA testing of evidence in the murder.
Fisher, 71, owner of the Ski and Bow Rack, was shot in the chest on March 11 while interrupting a burglary. He was flown to St. Anthony’s in Lakewood and passed away from his injuries the following morning.
A face mask was collected during the investigation of the crime scene at The Ski and Bow Rack located at 354 E. Pagosa St. “From video surveillance footage at the scene, it was known that the mask had been worn by the person who shot Mr. Fisher,” states the release.
According to Maxwell, early in the investigation Moats was identified as a person of interest in the case. “On 03-13-18, Michael consented to an interview with investigators and was released following the interview,” states the release. “Mr. Moats voluntarily provided a DNA sample to investigators. At the time, there was not probable cause to arrest Mr. Moats.”
On March 14, the mask recovered at the scene and the known DNA standards from Moats were submitted to the Colorado Bureau of Investigations Laboratory for comparison. That same morning, a search warrant was executed by investigators from from the PSPD, Archuleta County Sheriff’s Department and agents of the Colorado Bureau of Investigations at a residence in Archuleta County, where Moats had been staying.
“During the search, several items of evidence were recovered, including a handgun that was consistent with the weapon used in the murder,” states the release.
“Within minutes of completing the search at the residence, Investigators were notified of the apparent suicide of a person in New Mexico, who was believed to be Michael Moats. The identity of the deceased was subsequently confirmed as Mr. Moats, by the New Mexico State Police,” continued the release.
Two additional search warrants on vehicles were subsequently executed by investigators and additional evidence was recovered.
“The test results received from the Colorado Bureau of Investigations Laboratory on 03-26-18, indicated that DNA was found on the mask which, matched the known DNA sample from Michael Moats,” Maxwell stated. “The results indicated that the probability of selecting an individual at random from the population having the same profile is, ‘Approximately 1 in 3.7 octillion.’
“Based on case facts and evidence, Investigators believe that Michael Moats was the sole perpetrator of this crime. No other suspects are being sought in connection with the investigation.”