Breakthrough in Alfred "Alferd" Packer Case

David Bailey of Museum of the West helps Solve a Cold Case

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- - Grand Junction's own David Bailey, the Curator of History at the Museum of the West, has been honored in "Colorado Life" magazine for his work on the Alfred "Alferd" Packer case. Bailey is one of many on the Western Investigations Team that helped to clear the Colorado Cannibals name. 

Packer had been considered guilty of killing and eating all five of his companions in the San Juan Mountains. Packer admitted to eating the men, but not to murdering them. Packer, along with some forensic scientists from Colorado Mesa University, discovered a fragment from a bullet believed to be from Packers gun inside of the skeleton of Shannon Bell. Bell was one of the men with Packer on their prospecting trip. According to Packer, he had left the men at their campsite to go look for civilization. When he returned, he found four of his companions dead and Bell had gone mad. Bell apparently charged Packer, who shot and killed him. Packer then had to consume the other men for survival.

Bailey decided to look further into this case, and found part of a bullet in Bells body that matched the lead from bullets in Packers gun. "We knew that they had found a gun there in 1950 that they said was Alfred Packers, so we took the bullet out of the gun and tested the bullet under the body and they matched. So Packer was telling the truth, that he actually did shoot the real killer Shannon Bell," says Bailey.
 
Bailey says this special combination of science and history was the key to solving this mystery. To find out more about this case, go to this link. The Packer exhibit is available to be seen in the Museum of the West in downtown Grand Junction.

 


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