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Family Friend Arrested in Colorado Triple Homicide

CANON CITY, Colo. (AP) — A mother and her two young children were killed and a 31-year-old family friend was arrested on suspicion of murder after the woman's teenage daughter fled a Colorado home Sunday night and alerted a neighbor, who called police.

The victims included a 5-year-old boy, a 9-year-old girl and their 35-year-old mother, who were found in a home in Canon City, about 115 miles south of Denver.

Police Sgt. Shannon Byerly said Monday that Jaacob Vanwinkle is facing charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual assault. He was arrested at the home where the bodies were found. Vanwinkle appeared in court Monday and was denied bond.

Police were responding to the neighbor's report that the 15-year-old girl had been assaulted when they found the bodies. Byerly said the girl had been raped.

"This is a very, very tragic event. It's a very, very horrific crime," police Chief Paul Schultz said.

The girl was taken to a hospital, where she was treated and released. None of the victims has been identified.

Autopsies of the victims were scheduled for Tuesday.

Canon City school staff brought grief counselors to area schools for friends and teachers of the children, police said.

The Denver Post reported that Vanwinkle was sentenced in 2004 to four years in prison in Indiana for child molestation and vicarious sexual gratification. He received a two-year term in 2007 in Indiana for child molestation and, in 2012, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence in Fremont County, Colorado, where Canon City is located, the newspaper said.

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