Police Said Teen Holly Moore Committed Suicide, But Not Everyone Is Convinced

Troubling questions about Holly Moore's hanging death just one week after she turned 19 have many calling for a new investigation.

June 26, 2019
By: Mike McPadden

CASTLE ROCK, CO — On March 6, 2015, just one week after she turned 19, the body of college student Holly Moore was discovered hanging in her bathroom closet with an electrical cord wrapped around her neck.

Holly’s roommate reportedly found her, dialed 911, and then called Ray Moore, Holly’s father. After Ray raced to the scene, he said, Castle Rock Police officers told him on the spot that his daughter had committed suicide.

Indeed, the police recorded Holly’s death as a suicide in their original report. So, too, did Dr. James A. Wilkerson IV the Douglas County Coroner’s Office after he performed an autopsy.

Ray Moore, however, didn’t believe Holly killed herself then, and he doesn’t believe it now.

The still grieving dad has been up front about the challenges his daughter faced at the time — she was a full-time caregiver for her quadriplegic mother and she had been prescribed antidepressants which, Ray admits, Holly had run out of in the days before she died.

In addition, Holly had recently split from her boyfriend, an Army specialist referred to solely as "Steven." The night she died, text messages sent from Holly’s phone reportedly indicated that the exes were fighting.

Steven is said to have accused Holly of being involved with her male roommate. Police say a reply message from Holly’s phone declared, “You don’t deserve a goodbye,” and included a photo of her thigh with the names of friends and family members written on it — with “Steven” in the middle. The text conversation allegedly ended there.

During the initial police investigation, April Moore, Holly’s sister, says she told officers that she suspected Steven might be involved in the death. April alleged that just a week prior, on Holly’s 19th birthday, she witnessed Steven choking her sister.

April told a reporter, “I saw him lifting her up with just one hand, and Holly was off the ground almost a foot. Holly was turning red, she couldn’t breathe. She was saying, 'stop, stop, stop!'”

The station additionally reported that a second witness went on record with the cops claiming Steven “put [Holly] in a choke hold to get her to pass out.”

CBI Agent In Charge Kirby Lewis, however, after speaking with with multiple officials, was not able to find any backup supporting the claims of abuse.

Ray and April also reported that Holly’s room was tidy to the point of being spotless, looking, to them, like someone had cleaned it extremely thoroughly, perhaps, they theorized, to eliminate or cover up evidence.

Regardless, Castle Rock Sargent Tim Ratcliff told the press that authorities were standing by their original determination, stating, “The totality of the situation led us to believe that this was a suicide.”

Determined to keep looking into Holly’s death, her family hired renowned forensic medical examiner Dr. Selma Eikelenboom.

Reportedly, Eikelenboom requested X-rays of Holly’s remains from the County Coroner, but the office refused to provide them. Eikelboom said she X-rayed the body at the funeral home instead and noted that Holly had a broken collarbone.

The coroner’s office reportedly later said the break occurred during the autopsy, but Eikelenboom pointed out that no record of any such break was included in the report.

Eikelenboom reportedly went on to state that Holly had injuries on her lip and chin, indicating she might have been kicked. The doctor also noted that the deep horizontal ligature marks on Holly’s neck were inconsistent with the vertical marks left by a typical hanging suicide. She said, in fact, they seemed to be more in keeping with marks left by strangulation.

Furthermore, Eikelenboom said the fact that Holly’s fingers were tightly wrapped underneath the electrical cord around her neck only made sense if “she was strangled by somebody else and she is trying to fight if off.”

Talking to KDVR-TV, Eikelenboom said, “The more we investigate, the more indications we get that this is indeed a homicide and not a suicide.”

Allegedly motivated by public pressure for Holly’s death to be reconsidered, on December 24, 2015, the Castle Rock Police Department (CRPD) reportedly handed the case over to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for a peer review.

On February 1, 2017, CBI Agent In Charge Kirby Lewis reportedly completed the multifaceted review and the agency backed up the cops’ original finding — that Holly Moore died by her own hand.

The review further stated that the CBI looked deep into the police work, the county medical exam records, and all the information provided by the independent investigators hired by Holly’s family, and concluded that the case had been handled properly.

Nonetheless, Ray Moore remains convinced that someone killed his daughter. He and others have pledged to continue seeking justice for Holly — and to continue asking questions.

For more on the case of Holly Moore, watch Investigation Discovery's Still a Mystery on ID GO!

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